Utah State’s [University] men’s basketball team won its third-straight outright Western Athletic Conference regular season championship and fourth-straight league title overall without even playing as New Mexico State, the WAC’s second-place team, lost at San Jose State (72-70 OT) Wednesday night [Feb. 23]. With the loss, NMSU is now 14-14 overall and 8-5 in league play.
With its regular season WAC Championship, Utah State is guaranteed a bid to the National Invitation Tournament, extending its current school record run of consecutive postseason appearances to 12 straight as the Aggies have played in the NCAA Tournament seven times and the NIT four times in the past 11 years.
Along with securing its 12-straight postseason appearance, Utah State is also one of just two teams in the nation to win at least 23 games in each of the last 12 seasons along with Kansas.
Utah State, who is ranked No. 23 in the country in this week’s ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, is currently 25-3 on the season and 12-1 in WAC play and will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming WAC Tournament held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., beginning Wednesday, March 9, and running through Saturday, March 12. As the top seed, USU receives a bye into the semifinals and will play the lowest remaining seed on Friday, March 11.
Utah State has now won the last four regular season WAC titles as it shared the regular season championship in 2008 with a 12-4 mark, and won the conference outright in 2009 and 2010 with identical 14-2 league records. Overall, Utah State has now won seven regular season championships during the past 12 years under head coach Stew Morrill as the Aggies won Big West Conference titles in 2000, 2002 and 2004. All-time, USU has won 16 conference championships.
Utah State’s current run of four-straight regular season conference championships is the longest in school history bettering the 1997 and 1998 clubs that won back-to-back Big West titles and the 1935 and 1936 teams that won back-to-back Rocky Mountain Conference championships.
Utah States returns to action Saturday, Feb. 26, when it hosts Idaho (15-11, 7-6) in its final home game of the 2010-11 season at 7 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on CW30. USU has won 31 straight WAC games at home, which is a school record, and 30 straight games at home overall, which is the third-longest active home winning streak in the nation.
Prior to the game, USU will honor its six seniors — Nate Bendall, Matt Formisano, Brian Green, Tyler Newbold, Tai Wesley and Pooh Williams.
Additional Aggie sports news is available at the Athletics website.
Contact: Doug Hoffman, (435) 797-3714