Bubble Watch Says Utah State Has ‘Work To Do’ To Make NCAA Tourney

Mar 1, 2020, 4:25 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2020, 3:21 pm
Craig Smith - Utah State Aggies...
Utah State Aggies head coach Craig Smith celebrates by cutting down the net after his team's win over the San Diego State Aztecs in the Mountain West Conference finals at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 16, 2019. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

LOGAN, Utah – After a disappointing regular-season finale loss to the New Mexico Lobos, ESPN’s NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch says the Utah State Aggies have “work to do” in the Mountain West Conference Tournament to find themselves in the field of 68.

The Aggies suffered a setback in their pursuit of the NCAA tourney with a 66-64 loss to the Lobos on Saturday, February 29.

“Is the Aggies’ position looking rather precarious now?” wrote ESPN’s John Gasaway. “Craig Smith’s team lost at New Mexico 66-64, Utah State’s second Quad 3 defeat of the season.”

Utah State’s Resume

Utah State finished the regular season with an overall record of 23-8 and 12-6 in the Mountain West Conference.

The loss to the Lobos took some wind of Utah State’s sails with limited time left to prove its case to the March Madness selection committee.

“USU was sporting a top-40 NET ranking and was being seen as a No. 11 or even as a No. 10 seed, but the loss to the Lobos marked the fourth time the Aggies have been defeated by Mountain West teams besides San Diego State,” continued Gasaway.

ESPN.com currently lists the Aggies among the teams with “work to do” rather than as a member of the “should be in” or “locks” for the tournament.

ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Aggies barely getting into the NCAA Tournament as a part of the “last four in.” If Utah State is among the last four in, they will play in Dayton, Ohio in the “First Four” round.

Mountain West Conference Tournament

Utah State needs to make a significant run in the Mountain West Conference tourney in order to find themselves on the NCAA Tournament bracket.

“Smith and his men will feel better about Selection Sunday if they win a couple of games at the Mountain West tournament,” said Gasaway.

The Aggies are the No. 2 seed in the MWC Tournament which begins on March 4 in Las Vegas.

Utah State will play its first game of the conference tourney in the quarterfinals on March 5 against the winner of the first-round meeting between San Jose State and New Mexico.

The Aggies defeated the San Diego State Aztecs in the MWC Tournament Championship Game in 2019.

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