In-State College Hoops Eyeing Prominent Seeding In Conference Tournaments

Feb 25, 2019, 11:53 AM
Utah State vs. New Mexico #2...
(Rick Parker, USU Athletics)
(Rick Parker, USU Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After their weekend sweep, the Utah State Aggies are just a half of a game behind Nevada for first place in the Mountain West Conference. They will face each other on Saturday in Logan.

BYU has just one game left in the regular season and currently sit in third place in the West Coast Conference standings. They lost both of their games last week.

Utah Valley won both of their home games over the weekend and remain in third place in the WAC, just a half game behind Grand Canyon.

It was a decent week for the state of Utah in college hoops with the local teams going 7-4.

Weber State remains in third place in the Big Sky Conference.

Southern Utah is still in sixth place after their two home wins.

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 two of the six in-state schools improved their BPI rating from the previous week, while four of the six teams improved their strength of record or stayed the same.

Here’s the seventh edition of the KSL Sports in-state college basketball power rankings from games played Monday, February 18 to Sunday, February 24:

1. Utah State Aggies (22-6, 12-3 MWC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 8.3, No. 49 (Up 4 Spots)

Wins: vs. New Mexico (-0.4 BPI, No. 176), at Boise State (2.1 BPI, No. 136)

Strength of Record: 45 (Up 11 Spots)

Recap: It took the Aggies until the second half to pull away from New Mexico as they outscored the Cowboys 36-23 in the second half to pick up the 71-55 victory. Neemias Queta led the way with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Sam Merrill and Diogo Brito each scored 13 points.

In their 78-71 win at Boise State, Sam Merrill had a fantastic first half with 21 points. He had to bring the Aggies back into the game late to force overtime after converting a three-point play. Utah State took over in the overtime period by outscoring the Broncos 10-3. Merrill finished with 32 points and 8 rebounds, while Abel Porter dropped 16 points.

Previous Ranking: 1

Next Up: vs. San Diego State (18-9, 10-4 MWC), Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. They will host No. 12 Nevada (25-2, 12-2 MWC), Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

2. BYU Cougars (18-12, 10-5 WCC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 5.0, No. 90 (Down 12 Spots)

Losses: vs. San Francisco (8.2 BPI, No. 52), at No. 2 Gonzaga (23.0 BPI, No. 1)

Strength of Record: 83 (Down 8 Spots)

Recap: BYU had a 14-point lead with 8:14 left when the Dons made their comeback. They went on a 38-18 run to pick up the 77-71 win in Provo. Yoeli Childs had 28 points and 14 rebounds, while T.J. Haws poured in 25 points.

The Cougars trailed 51-38 in the first half against Gonzaga before the Bulldogs outscored BYU 51-30 in the second half to pick up a 102-68 win. Childs and Haws each scored 18 points to lead the Cougars.

Previous Ranking: 2

Next Up: vs. San Diego (17-12, 6-8 WCC), Saturday at 7 p.m. on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio.

3. Utah Utes (15-12, 9-6 Pac-12)
ESPN BPI Rating: 2.5, No. 128 (Up 2 Spots)

Wins: at Washington State (-2.6 BPI, No. 210)

Losses: at Washington (9.5 BPI, No. 42)

Strength of Record: 100 (Up 3 Spots)

Recap: The Utes went ice cold against the Washington Huskies as they shot 28 percent from the field on 14-of-50 attempts. Most of their makes were from deep as 8 of their 14 field goals came from beyond the arc. Washington held Utah to their season low in points in their 62-45 win. Sedrick Barefield was the only Ute to score in double figures with 12 points, all scored in the first 12 minutes of the game.

In their 92-78 win over Washington State, Utah was the exact opposite than their game against the Huskies. They shot 52 percent from the field on 31-of-59 attempts and 16-for-35 from downtown for 45 percent. Barefield finished with 33 points, Parker Van Dyke chipped in 17 points off the bench and Donnie Tillman recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Previous Ranking: 3

Next Up: at Colorado (16-11, 7-8 Pac-12), Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.

4. Utah Valley Wolverines (19-8, 8-4 WAC)
ESPN BPI Rating: 2.3, No. 133

Wins: vs. Chicago State (-20.8 BPI, No. 353), vs. UMKC (-4.7 BPI, No. 259)

Strength of Record: 88 (Up 8 Spots)

Recap: Against Chicago State, it was never really close. The Wolverines outscored CSU 54-38 in the first half and 49-33 in the second half to pick up a 103-71 win. Jake Toolson led the Wolverines with 25 points, Richard Harward poured in 19 points and 16 rebounds off the bench, while Conner Toolson chipped in 13 points.

It was a close game for most of the contest against UMKC as it took two halves of team basketball for the Wolverines to pick up a 79-67 win. Conner Toolson had 15 points, while Baylee Steele chipped in 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Previous Ranking: 4

Next Up: at Seattle (15-12, 3-9 WAC), Tuesday at 8 p.m. They will travel to California Baptist (15-11, 6-6 WAC), Saturday at 8 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network.

5. Weber State Wildcats (16-11, 10-6 Big Sky)
ESPN BPI Rating: -0.1, No. 169 (Down 4 Spots)

Losses: at Sacramento State (-4.1 BPI, No. 246)

Strength of Record: 188 (Down 11 Spots)

Recap: Brekkott Chapman hit one of his two free-throws with 39 seconds left to tie the game before Sacramento State was fouled by Chapman with one second left. Ethan Esposito hit both and gave the Hornets the 78-76 win. Caleb Nero led the Wildcats with 18 points off the bench, Chapman finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Cody John chipped in 15 points. Jerrick Harding did not play.

Previous Ranking: 5

Next Up: at Northern Colorado (17-9, 11-4 Big Sky), Thursday at 7 p.m. on Pluto TV channel 241.

6. Southern Utah Thunderbirds (14-12, 9-8 Big Sky)
ESPN BPI Ranking: -5.5, No. 274 (Down 2 Spots)

Wins: vs. Eastern Washington (-5.3 BPI, No. 268), vs. Idaho (-14.7 BPI, No. 347)

Strength of Record: 222 (Up 10 Spots)

Recap: The Thunderbirds outscored Eastern Washington 43-32 in the second half to pick up the 76-62 win. Dre Marin dropped 10 points and 7 rebounds to lead SUU, Jacob Calloway poured in 17 points and Harrison Butler added 12 points and 9 rebounds.

In their 85-76 win over Idaho, Southern Utah did their damage in the first half by outscoring the Vandals 43-34. Harrison Butler led the team with 21 points and 13 rebounds, Cameron Oluyitan had 17 points.

Previous Ranking: 6

Next Up: at Montana (20-6, 13-2 Big Sky), Saturday at 7 p.m. on Pluto TV.

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In-State College Hoops Eyeing Prominent Seeding In Conference Tournaments