Utah State Basketball Relies On Trust Entering NCAA Tournament

Mar 15, 2023, 12:51 PM | Updated: 1:36 pm

SACRAMENTO, California – The best teams are hardened in games, but it’s the practices, grinding, and behind-the-scenes work that forges trust between teammates. Trust is what Utah State feels gives them an advantage.

Utah State (26-8, 13-5) received an at-large bid to the 2023 NCAA tournament. They will face the No. 23 Missouri Tigers (24-9, 11-7) in the Round of 64 on Thursday, March 16. Tip-off is scheduled for 11:40 a.m. (MT).

“Being a grad transfer, this is my last chance and I’m beyond blessed to be here with these guys,” Taylor Funk said on Wednesday, ahead of the Aggies opening-round matchup. “A lot of hard work from the start to now. All summer grinding, and a lot of battles.

After spending five seasons at St. Joseph’s, Funk felt Utah State gave him the best chance of finding postseason success.


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“Trust is everything. Since the moment I went on my visit to Utah State, that is something that has jumped out to me. It’s kind of hard to describe and it makes you realize how much of an impact these guys made on me.”

RELATED: Similar To Utah State, Missouri Lacks Recent NCAA Tournament Success

Junior point guard and first-team all-Mountain West performer Steven Ashworth spoke about the trust this team has in each other.

“We know that we don’t need any one guy to be the star, the go-to guy to win games. That in and of itself requires trust from the players trusting the coaching staff. What set’s we’re going to run and what we’re going to do defensively.”

To support Ashworth’s point, seven different players led Utah State in scoring in a game this season.

“I think that some of those principles are what goes into the trust that we have in each other. Trust that we’re going to have each other’s back if we make mistakes.”

RELATED: Utah State’s NCAA Tournament History As Aggies Prepare For Missouri

“A lot of battles. A lot of long days go into building relationships and this team has great relationships,” Ashworth said, echoing Funk. “With that comes a factor of trust that gives us an advantage over a lot of our competitors.”


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Where to watch No. 10 Utah State vs. No. 7 Missouri

The Aggies and Missouri Tigers are scheduled for an 11:40 a.m. (MT) tip at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA on Thursday, March 16. This game will be broadcast on TNT.

The winner of this game will face either the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats or the No. 15 Princeton Tigers on Saturday, March 18.

Every Utah State basketball game can be heard on the KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard on the call.

KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics can be found here. 

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Utah State Basketball Relies On Trust Entering NCAA Tournament