USU basketball: Utah State men's basketball announces 2012-13 schedule

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 12 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

Utah State University's head men's basketball coach Stew Morrill announced the Aggies' 2012-13 schedule, which includes 30 regular-season games, highlighted by three against in-state foes. There will also be 18 home games in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Among USU's opponents are at least six games against teams that made the postseason in 2012.

USU's two exhibition contests and its first four games of the regular-season will be played in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. When playing there, the Aggies have won 100 of their last 107 games and have amassed a 210-18 (.921) record at home under Morrill, including a 53-9 (.855) home ledger in Western Athletic Conference games, as well as 105-8 (.929) in non-conference games.

"The first thing that is a big change from last year is only 12 non-league games compared to 17 in 2011-12 season," Morrill said. "Obviously that is due to a larger WAC schedule with 18 league games versus 14 last season."

Highlighting Utah State's 2012-13 non-conference schedule will be a home game against Saint Mary's, the defending West Coast Conference champions and an NCAA Tournament team from a year ago, as well as a home game against Weber State, who played in last year's Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament.

"There are the usual challenges and opportunities in the schedule. We play WCC favorite Saint Mary's at home early and that will certainly give us an idea of where we are," Morrill said.

The Aggies have three non-conference road games, including two in the state, as they will travel south to take on Brigham Young, an NCAA Tournament participant, and Utah Valley, who played in last season's Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament after winning its second-straight Great West Conference regular-season championship. Utah State's lone non-conference out-of-state trip will be its first road game of the year at Santa Clara.

USU will host the World Vision Challenge sponsored by Gossner Foods, welcoming Southern Illinois, Nicholls State and UC Davis right before Christmas. In addition, the team will host an ESPNU BracketBusters game in February.

"We have the in-state games with all the normal emphasis on those rivalries, our annual pre-Christmas Tournament that includes Missouri Valley Conference power Southern Illinois, in addition to a swan song BracketBustergame in February that will finish up the non-conference," Morrill said.

USU's eighth and final season in the WAC will also include two postseason teams. New Mexico State, who is the defending conference champion and a NCAA Tournament participant, and a WAC-newcomer UT Arlington, who played in last year's National Invitational Tournament after winning the Southland Conference regular-season title. The Aggies will also be taking on four other new WAC foes in Denver, Seattle, Texas State and UTSA, as well as traditional league match-ups against Idaho, Louisiana Tech and San Jose State.

"Our last year in the WAC will be sentimental for me and a big challenge. With many new players, I'm sure we won't be a favorite, and yet we hope to challenge for a fifth conference championship in our eight years of WAC play," Morrill said. "All in all, it should be lots of fun. We look forward to getting better as we go."

The Aggies open with exhibition games against Grand Canyon and Simon Fraser on Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Nov. 3, respectively, before hosting Idaho State on Saturday, Nov. 10 in the 2012-13 season-opener, the first of four-straight home games. USU will then host a pair of out-of-state foes in the same weekend when it hosts Saint Mary's and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

A Beehive State battle is in store for Thanksgiving weekend when Morrill and the Aggies host in-state foe Weber State, under the direction of former USU assistant coach Randy Rahe. Utah State will hit the road for the first time to close out the month of November, heading to Santa Clara on Wednesday, Nov. 29, as Morrill will again be facing another former assistant coach James Ware, who is on the Broncos' bench.

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