LOGAN — The "dog days of February" are officially on for Stew Morrill's Utah State Aggies. Following a two-game road trip that saw the Aggies defeat San Jose State and survive a double-overtime game at Hawaii, the team arrived back in Logan at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Exhausted from the trip, Morrill gave the team Monday off, hoping to get a revitalized group for tonight's prime-time matchup against Nevada.
"Anytime you make that trip you are concerned about the next week, and playing on Wednesday night is upon us" Morrill said.
While the Aggies were out on the road, Nevada has been home since defeating Fresno State 79-76 last Thursday night, trying to devise a way to avenge an 81-67 Aggie victory when the two teams met in Reno in early January.
Utah State trailed by as many as 10 in the second half of that game but put together a fantastic final 10 minutes to win the contest.
In that game, the Wolf Pack's Dario Hunt was limited due to foul trouble, scoring only four points and grabbing zero rebounds, a rarity for the league's leading rebounder.
Nevada has regained its form recently following a rough non-conference slate and has won their last four WAC games and sit in third place in the conference, just a half game behind New Mexico State.
"When we came into the league, we had great respect for Nevada and used them as a measuring stick," Morrill said. "We need to continue to have that respect. They are really shooting the ball well and have had a full week to prepare for us."
Morrill is especially impressed with Wolf Pack point guard Deonte Burton, who should win the WAC's freshman of the year award.
"I think (Burton) is good enough to get WAC player-of-the-year honors if you look at his stats," Morrill said. "He's got better stats than (Armon Johnson) who is playing in the NBA right now."
BRACKETBUSTER: ESPN announced its annual Bracketbuster pairings on Monday, and the Aggies have been selected to visit Saint Mary's College in the marquee matchup of the event, drawing the 7 p.m. MST tip. It will be the third straight year the two schools have matched up. Two years ago the Aggies were also selected to visit the Gaels in a Bracketbuster matchup that went the way of Saint Mary's, 75-64. Last year the Gaels snapped the Aggies' 37-game home winning streak with a 68-63 win in the Spectrum. Saint Mary's was a Cinderella team last season, reaching the Sweet 16 before bowing out to Baylor.
GREEN HONORED: Brian Green is the WAC player of the week for his performance on the Aggies' latest road trip. Green scored a career-high 25 points in an 84-65 victory over San Jose State on Thursday night and added a career-high six rebounds in that contest. Against Hawaii on Saturday night, Green scored 22 points and kept the Aggies in the game by hitting a game-tying shot to send it to overtime in regulation and a 30-foot 3-pointer to tie the game again and send it to a second overtime. In the final overtime, Green hit four free throws to seal the 89-84 victory.
Aggies on the air
Utah State (20-2, 9-0) vs. Nevada (8-13, 5-3)
Today, 9 p.m.
Dee Glen Smith Spectrum
TV: ESPN2 Radio: 610
AM, 95.9 FM, 1320 AM