LOGAN — It seems impossible to believe that Utah State's win over Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday was its first postseason win since 2001, but the Aggies are in the second round of a tournament for the first time since defeating Ohio State in the 2001 NCAA tournament. Utah State (18-15) will match up with Western Athletic Conference rival Idaho (19-13) in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m.
"It's weird to play a league opponent in a postseason event," said head coach Stew Morrill. "Two teams that are very familiar with each other, obviously."
Because the CIT matches teams up based on geography the Aggies did not know their opponent until Thursday morning, but a lot of advance film study won't be necessary against Idaho. The two teams have already played twice this season and it was just three weeks ago that they last saw each other. The Aggies ended their regular season at home with a 67-50 thumping of Idaho.
Guard Preston Medlin had a career-high 32 points, including 27 in the second half, as Utah State trailed by as many as 15 early in the first half before blowing the game wide open by outscoring the Vandals 53-21 over the game's final 24 minutes.
Then there is the coaching matchup. Longtime Utah State assistant Don Verlin is the head coach of Idaho and runs a system that is very similar to the Aggies. Morrill made it clear that he dislikes playing former assistant coaches like Verlin because one of them has to lose, but was willing to trade that discomfort in order to get to host another game.
Idaho (19-13) at Utah State (18-15)
Today, 7 p.m. (MT)
Radio: 97.5 FM