Smith Spectrum Arena in Logan, Utah will be electric tonight as the Utah State Aggies host the Colorado State Rams in Utah State's head coach Stew Morrill's final home game. As if winning on the road in Mountain West play isn't hard enough, add in the fact that since Morrill has taken over as head coach at Utah State, the Aggies are 248-31 when playing in front of their home crowd.
On the final day of regular season play, no Mountain West matchup has more importance than this one. The Aggies, who sit at 18-11, 11-6 in conference play, are currently in fifth place in the Mountain West, but with a win, have the potential to jump up to third, depending on the outcome of the Wyoming vs. New Mexico game. The 25-5, 12-5, Rams are currently the third team in the Mountain West and a win against the Aggies would lock them in as the third seed in the Mountain West tournament. This game is of even more importance for Colorado State because with a loss, they could see themselves fall out of the NCAA Tournament. A win would not guarantee the Rams a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but they would add a 26th win and avoid a "bad loss" in the eyes of the selection committee.
This will be the first and only game between Utah State and Colorado State this season, but looking back to last year, Utah State took the season sweep, going 3-0 against the Rams a season ago. However, last year fails to give us much insight into this year because these are two completely different squads then the ones that took the court in the 2013-2014 season.
Utah State is a very young team that only has two players that are juniors or older that are averaging over 15 minutes per game. The Aggies are led in scoring by guard Jalen Moore, who has had a very good sophomore year, averaging 15.1 points per game. Moore is also Utah State's rebound leader with 6.7 per game. Freshman forward David Collette has been a nice addition to Morrill's team this season, averaging 13 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Juniors Chris Smith and Darius Perkins bring experience to this young roster, adding 22 points, six rebounds and six assists a game between the two players.
Colorado State on the other hand is the more experienced team with three seniors in the starting lineup. The Ram's feature one of the best players in the Mountain West in forward J.J. Avila who is coming off of a 27 point performance against Nevada. Stanton Kidd and Daniel Bejarano hope to end their last regular season game on high note with some momentum heading into post-season play, and a win over the Aggies would be a great boost before heading to Las Vegas for the conference tournament.
The "magic" number in this game is 70 points. The Aggies are just 1-6 this season when allowing their opponent to score more than 70 points. The Ramsare one of the best offenses in the conference and are averaging 73 points per game. If the shots fall early for Colorado State it could be a favorable matchup for the Rams who can light up the scoreboard quickly. However, this being a combination of senior night, Morrill's last game in Logan and a game of great importance for both teams, this matchup has the making of a great game that you don't want to miss.
Tip off for the game is 7:00 p.m. MST and can be viewed on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain.