Aggies Dominate Week, State Of Utah Goes 5-6

Feb 4, 2019, 5:17 PM
(Rick Parker, USU Athletics)...
(Rick Parker, USU Athletics)
(Rick Parker, USU Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah State Aggies dominated their week with two big wins to keep them on top of the power rankings for the fourth straight week.

Utah State is in third place in the Mountain West Conference and play the second place Fresno State Bulldogs and the fourth place San Diego State Aztecs this week on the road.

BYU split their games but lost handily to the No. 4 team in the country, they sit in second place in the West Coast Conference.

Utah was in third place in the Pac-12 standings but lost both of their games this past week and are now in sixth.

Utah Valley played just one game but they are in fourth place in the WAC standings.

It was a rough week for the state of Utah in college hoops with the local teams going 5-6.

Weber State remains in third place and are just a half of a game behind Northern Colorado and Montana for first place in the Big Sky.

Southern Utah dropped to seventh place after losing both of their road games.

ESPN puts out a Basketball Power Index, also known as BPI, which measures a team’s strength going forward. The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has a metric called “Strength of Record” that reflects the chance a typical 25th ranked team would have team’s record or better, given the schedule on a 0 to 100 scale, where 100 is the best.

Just three of the six schools improved their strength of record and BPI rating.

Here’s the fourth edition of the KSL Sports in-state college basketball power rankings from games played Monday, January 28 to Sunday, February 3:

1. Utah State Aggies (17-5, 7-2)
ESPN BPI Rating: 8.0, No. 49 (Up 5 Spots)

Wins: vs. San Jose State (-12.9 BPI, No. 343), vs. UNLV (1.2 BPI, No. 148)

Strength of Record: 57

Recap: The Aggies basically dominated the San Jose State Spartans from the opening tip-off on their way to a 103-73 win. Sam Merrill posted 29 points and 8 assists on 8-for-13 shooting from the field. Brock Miller added 14 points and Neemias Queta had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks.

UNLV had a two point lead early in the game but Utah State took over and never looked back as they led by as many as 29 points to pick up an 82-65 win over the Rebels. Merrill added 20 points to his strong week, Diogo Brito chipped in 15 points off the bench and Queta had 10 points, 16 rebounds and 3 assists. The Aggies have won six straight games.

Previous Ranking: 1

Next Up: at Fresno State (16-5, 7-2 MWC), Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on AT&T SportsNet. They travel to San Diego State (13-8, 5-3 MWC) on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN3.

2. BYU Cougars (14-10, 6-3 WCC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 4.5, No. 95 (Up 3 Spots)

Wins: vs. Loyola Marymount (1.7 BPI, No. 138)

Losses: vs. No. 4 Gonzaga (20.6 BPI, No. 3)

Strength of Record: 109 (Up 9 Spots)

Recap: BYU stayed in the game for a small portion of the first half before No. 4 Gonzaga dominated the contest by outscoring the Cougars 41-24 in the first half. The Bulldogs dropped 52 points while allowing BYU to score 39 points in the second half on their way to a 93-63 win. T.J. Haws scored 16 points to lead the Cougars, while Yoeli Childs had 12 points and 7 rebounds. Zac Seljaas chipped in 13 points off the bench.

It took the Cougars the entire first half to get into the game and pick up the win. Loyola Marymount outscored BYU 26-23 in the first half but the Cougars dominated the second half 44-23 to get the 67-49 victory. Gavin Baxter had a breakout game with 25 points and 10 rebounds, Nick Emery scored 17 points off the bench. Yoeli Childs had just 6 points to go with his 9 rebounds.

Previous Ranking: 2

Next Up: at Portland (7-17, 0-9 WCC), Thursday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. They will host Pacific (13-11, 3-6 WCC) on Saturday at 7 p.m. on BYUtv. Both games will be broadcast on KSL Newsradio.

3. Utah Valley Wolverines (16-7, 5-3 WAC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 2.0, No. 135 (Up 2 Spots)

Wins: vs. California Baptist (-4.5 BPI, No. 255)

Strength of Record: 98 (Up 5 Spots)

Recap: California Baptist had the lead shortly at the beginning of the game before the Wolverines dominating the rest of the match up. They outscored the Lancers 37-18 in the first half to pick up a 79-62 win. Jake Toolson scored 17 points to lead the way for UVU, Baylee Steele added a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Isaiah White poured in 15 points.

Previous Ranking: 3

Next Up: at Seattle (13-10, 1-7 WAC), Saturday at 2 p.m. on the WAC Digital Network.

4. Utah Utes (11-10, 5-4 Pac-12)
ESPN BPI Rating: 1.6, No. 141 (Down 8 Spots)

Losses: vs. Oregon (7.8 BPI, No. 52), vs. Oregon State (5.7 BPI, No. 75)

Strength of Record: 136 (Down 22 Spots)

Recap: It was a tough week for the Utes with two losses at home to the Oregon schools. They started the week with a 78-72 loss to the Oregon Ducks. Utah turned the ball over 17 times, mostly due to the full-court press that the Ducks used in the game. Sedrick Barefield and Donnie Tillman each scored 16 points to lead the Utes. Timmy Allen added 13 points, while Jayce Johnson contributed a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

In their 81-72 defeat to Oregon State, Utah dug themselves a hole early as the Beavers outscored the Utes 46-32 in the first half. Timmy Allen led the way with 24 points and Sedrick Barefield collected 19 points.

Previous Ranking: 3

Next Up: at USC (13-9, 6-3 Pac-12), Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Pac-12 Network. They will travel to UCLA (12-10, 5-4 Pac-12) on Saturday at 3 p.m. on FOX.

5. Weber State Wildcats (14-8, 8-3 Big Sky)
ESPN BPI Rating: 0.4, No. 164 (Down 9 Spots)

Wins: vs. Sacramento State (-3.7 BPI, No. 240)

Losses: vs. Portland State (-3.9 BPI, No. 243)

Strength of Record: 163 (Down 7 Spots)

Recap: Deante Strickland hit a three pointer to give the Vikings a one point lead with 24 seconds left but the Wildcats couldn’t convert until Jerrick Harding hit a three as time expired but they were down by four at the point, falling to Portland State 76-75. Harding finished with 28 points and 5 rebounds, Zach Braxton added 15 points and 8 rebounds. Brekkott Chapman had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocks.

Weber State had control the entire game against Sacramento State with a 75-65 win. Harding poured in 25 points and 7 rebounds to lead the Wildcats. Chapman chipped in 15 points and 7 rebounds.

Previous Ranking: 5

Next Up: at Southern Utah (9-10, 4-6 Big Sky), Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on Pluto TV channel 236. They travel to Northern Arizona (7-13, 5-5 Big Sky) on Saturday at 2 p.m. on Pluto TV channel 239.

6. Southern Utah Thunderbirds (9-10, 4-6 Big Sky)
ESPN BPI Ranking: -5.7, No. 279 (Down 5 Spots)

Losses: at Northern Arizona (-8.2 BPI, No. 317), at Eastern Washington (-6.5 BPI, No. 292)

Strength of Record: 228 (Down 32 Spots)

Recap: The Thunderbirds took the lead with 1:49 left on a layup by Cameron Oluyitan. On the ensuing possession, Bernie Andre tied the game at 68 and they went to overtime. NAU outscored SUU 12-9 in the extra period to pick up the 80-77 victory. Andre Adams led the Thunderbirds with 21 points and 10 rebounds, Brandon Better added 18 points.

Their game against Eastern Washington went back-and-forth almost the entire time, but the Eagles prevailed at home 82-79. Better scored a career-high 35 points, Dre Marin chipped in 11 points.

Previous Ranking: 6

Next Up: at Idaho (4-16, 1-8 Big Sky), Monday at 8 p.m. They will host Weber State (14-8, 8-3 Big Sky) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Then they will host Idaho State (8-12, 4-7 Big Sky) on Saturday at 2 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on Pluto TV.

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