Bovine Blog: Previewing Utah State Aggies Vs. Purdue Boilermakers

Mar 23, 2024, 8:09 PM

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 22: Zach Edey #15 of the Purdue Boilermakers blocks a shot against the Grambling state Tigers during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - First Round - Indianapolis at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 22, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana— The Utah State Aggies’ 23 years without an NCAA Tournament win are a distant memory after USU won 88-72 over ninth-seeded TCU to open the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

Eight-seed Utah State faces the Midwest Region’s top-seeded Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday, March 24. Tip-off is at 12:40 p.m. MT on CBS.

RELATED: How To Watch Utah State Aggies Vs. First-Seed Purdue Boilermakers

This reporter was a Sky View High School sophomore, the alma mater of sensational Aggie redshirt freshman Mason Falslev, the last time the Aggies won an NCAA Tournament game. I vividly remember watching from Ms. Crosbie’s math class as Tony Brown and Curtis Bobb led USU over Ohio State in overtime.

USU’s 16-point win over the Horned Frogs was the largest NCAA Tournament margin of victory in team history, topping a 91-81 win over UTEP in 1970. Utah State is 7-24 all-time in 24 NCAA Tournament appearances.

RELATED: USU Ends NCAA Tournament Drought, Downs TCU In First Round

Sunday’s game marks the second time the Aggies will play in the round of 32 since 1980.

Utah State is 0-1 all-time against Purdue, losing 85-64 in November 2016.

Purdue Boilermakers (30-4, 17-3 Big Ten)

Led by Matt Painter, who is in his 18th season helming the program, Purdue has been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament despite becoming the second No. 1 seed to lose in the first round, falling to FDU in 2023.

Under Painter’s watch, the Boilermakers have advanced to six Sweet 16s in 14 NCAA Tournament appearances. Purdue exorcised the demons of last year’s loss with a 28-point first-round win over Grambling State.

RELATED: Big Stage, Bright Lights, High Stakes Are Just What The Aggies Ordered

Any conversation about the Boilermakers on the court begins and ends with 7’4, reigning NCAA Player of the Year Zach Edey. The senior center was unstoppable in the first round, finishing with 30 points, 21 rebounds, and three blocks.

RELATED: Utah State Aggies & The Improbable Journey To Indianapolis

The likely soon-to-be two-time NCAA POTY averaged 24.6 points a night on 62 percent shooting for the season. The Toronto, Ontario, native adds 12 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, making him a menace on both ends.

Braden Smith averages 12.5 points, Lance Jones adds 12.1 points, and Fletcher Loyer chips in 10.4 points.

Following USU With KSL Sports Zone

Listen to USU basketball games on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard on the call.

Find KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics here.

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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Bovine Blog: Previewing Utah State Aggies Vs. Purdue Boilermakers