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Utah State basketball: Aggies still focused after clinching WAC

Published: Friday, March 4 2011 9:38 p.m. MST

LOGAN — In sports, a title can often hang in the balance until the last game of the regular season.

However, that is certainly not the case when Western Athletic Conference champion Utah State travels to last-place Louisiana Tech tonight. Both programs are locked into their respective places in the WAC standings. The Aggies clinched the league's regular-season championship more than a week ago. And the Bulldogs are locked into finishing in last place in the conference and consequently have been eliminated from participating in this seasons WAC postseason tournament.

Even with the stakes relatively low, USU coach Stew Morrill believes both teams have a lot left to play for.

"I look at the Louisiana Tech situation and can't help but think that it's a lot for them seeing as they have been eliminated from the tournament, so this will be their last game," Morrill said. "You just never know what that might mean to their guys. It's obvious that they will be working hard to try and knock us off."

Utah State still has plenty to play for in the big picture. With every win, the Aggies have been slowly creeping up the national rankings, and their seed projection in the NCAA Tournament has been improving amongst "bracketologists" across the country.

"I think we all realize that there is still a lot to play for. Any time that you go out and play a game, you should always play to win," Morrill said. "There are all kinds of potential; I call it potential because I have been down this road before, for postseason ramifications getting involved in these late games of our season."

Even with all the ramifications that are possible, Morrill is not focused on the NCAA Tournament or even the WAC Tournament. Instead, he is keeping the Aggies focused on winning their next game.

"I have learned years ago that you can't always believe what the experts say about your team because everything can quickly change with just one loss," Morrill said. "The very best thing that we can do is to try and keep winning, obviously."

Utah State currently sits at 19th in the RPI that the NCAA selection committee uses as a tool to help select and seed NCAA Tournament teams. Both ESPN and Sports Illustrated have Utah State predicted as a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But a few more wins could lead to the Aggies wearing the home whites in the first round as the favored seed, possibly opening the door for USU's first NCAA Tournament win in a decade.

Aggies on the air

No. 25 Utah State (27-3, 14-1) at Louisiana Tech (12-19, 2-13)

Today, 5 p.m.

Thomas Assembly Center, Ruston, La.

TV: ALT Radio: 610 AM, 1230 AM, 95.9 FM

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