Utah State basketball notebook: Aggies' duo of Tai Wesley, Tyler Newbold stand atop NCAA stats

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 4 2011 11:14 p.m. MST

Utah State swingman Tyler Newbold (24) leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. He set the NCAA rcord in 2008.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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LOGAN — Utah State's Tai Wesley, the reigning WAC player of the week, has vaulted to the top of the NCAA leaderboard in field goal percentage.

The 6-foot-7 senior has made 65.5 percent of his shots on the season (76-of-116). Last week, Wesley shot 72 percent for the field (13-of-18) in wins over Hawaii and San Jose State.

Not to be outdone, Aggie guard/forward Tyler Newbold is also among the nation's best. Newbold leads the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio, with a 4.7-to-1 ratio. Leading the NCAA is familiar territory for Newbold, who led the nation in the same category in 2008 with a still-standing NCAA record 3.96-to-1 ratio that season.

BRACKETOLOGY: If the season were to end today, most of the college basketball "bracketologists" have Utah State in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 12 or 13 seed, and would be on the fringe of an at-large berth should they fail to win the WAC Tournament.

The problem with Utah State's overall resume is, despite having no "bad losses," the Aggies lack any great wins. The Aggies rank 32nd in RPI, a computer ranking that measures a team's strength of schedule and how the team does against that schedule.

Utah State's two losses have come against the No. 1-ranked team in RPI (Georgetown) and the No. 3 team in RPI (BYU), which is nothing to be ashamed of.

The biggest problem the Aggies have is their victories have not come against teams the RPI views highly, with their only win against an RPI top-100 team coming against No. 63 Long Beach State.

Other than that victory, the best win on the Aggies' resume is against Western Michigan, which currently checks in at No. 148 on the RPI.

Often in the past, entering WAC play solved this problem for the Aggies.

Traditionally, teams like Nevada and New Mexico State rank high in RPI, but this year the highest-ranking team after Utah State in the conference is San Jose State, which sits at 166th in the latest RPI.

In order to add some bulk to their resume, the Aggies will need to draw a good team in the ESPN Bracketbuster matchup in the end of February. Possible opponents for that game with high RPIs would be Old Dominion (22), Drexel (32), or Saint Mary's (47). The Aggies will play their Bracketbuster game on Feb. 19 on the road.

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