LOGAN — Just before Christmas, Utah State head coach Stew Morrill was worried that his team's lack of games and frequency of practices was catching up to the Aggies. Now the USU schedule has flipped and not playing enough games is no longer a concern.
Far from it.
Utah State is right in the middle of a four-games-in-seven-days stretch after playing three games in three nights right before Christmas. Add it up and Morrill’s squad will have played as many games in two-and-a-half weeks as it did in the first month and a half of the season.
“We were 6-1 going into our Christmas tournament,” Morrill said. “Now we will have played seven games after these two in a little over two weeks, so that is odd.”
The Aggies are coming back home after sweeping their WAC-opening road trip in Texas. The team got back into Logan on Monday. Both Seattle and Idaho, Utah State’s next two opponents, last played on Saturday night, giving them a little extra rest.
The combination of a short turnaround and extra preparation for Seattle gives Morrill some concerns, but the fact that Seattle's trip to the Spectrum on Thursday for the Aggies' first home conference game of the season should give the squad a boost.
“You’re always worried about your preparation time, your energy level, all those kind of things. They always concern you as a coach,” Morrill said. “We should be in good spirits, should be excited to play.”
Seattle is new to the WAC this year, but did face the Aggies both home and away last season in nonconference play, giving the two teams some familiarity. Utah State won easily 78-53 in the matchup in Logan last season, but the Redhawks took the game in Seattle 73-66.
“Seattle always concerns you with their talent level and their athleticism,” Morrill said. “Last year they gave us fits in Seattle. They pressured us and pressed us and caused us all kinds of problems.”
Much like Texas State on Monday, Seattle will look to push the tempo. In terms of possessions per game, the Redhawks rank 17th in the nation. Comparatively you can time Utah State with a sundial, as the Aggies' methodical offense puts USU amongst the 10 slowest teams in the nation. USU comes in at No. 337 overall.
Morrill believes the Aggies can adjust and play well no matter the style of their opponent. Against the Bobcats on Monday, Utah State played a little faster than normal and still produced excellent offensive results in a 24-point blowout.
“I like to think we can play at different paces. If you want to play fast, OK we can play fast, especially on our home court,” Morrill said. “We have to take advantage of the break when we get the opportunity. We actually had a lot of out-of-offense type of plays, just good basketball plays, in the Texas State game.”
Aggies and Redhawks on the air
Seattle (5-6, 0-1 WAC) at Utah State (11-1, 2-0 WAC)
Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013
7 p.m. (MT)
Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270), Logan
Radio: Aggie Sports Network
TV: KMYU TV
Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.
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