Utah State's men's basketball head coach Stew Morrill announced the Aggies' 2014-15 non-conference and Mountain West schedule on Thursday, which includes 16 home games in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum as part of a 30-game slate.
USU plays nine teams that played in the postseason during the 2013-14 season. Four of those played in the NCAA Tournament in Weber State, BYU, New Mexico and San Diego State. Illinois State, South Dakota State, Wyoming and Fresno State played in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), while Utah Valley played in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
Featured home non-conference games include in-state rivals Weber State and BYU, as well as hosting Santa Clara. The Aggies have some key non-conference road matchups, traveling to USC, Mississippi State, Illinois State and UC Davis, as well as a Beehive State battle at Utah Valley.
"Our non-conference schedule has lots of challenges and should help our team mature and get ready for conference play," Morrill said.
USU will also have an 18-game Mountain West ledger, as the Aggies are in their second year in the conference, and Utah State hosts nine league games and plays nine road league games. The Aggies will have home-and-home games against Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico, San José State, UNLV and Wyoming, while only playing Colorado State and San Diego State once, playing at SDSU and hosting CSU.
"As we know, the Mountain West is one of the best basketball leagues in the country. I believe if our team stays positive and gains confidence as the year goes along, we will have a chance to surprise and be better than expected," Morrill said.
Utah State will also be hosting the three-day, six-game World Vision Classic on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 18-20, welcoming Cal State Bakersfield, Idaho State and South Dakota State to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies start their ledger with a pair of exhibition games against Texas A&M-International in a Halloween matchup on Friday, Oct. 31, and Arkansas-Fort Smith on Friday, Nov. 7.
USU officially opens the 2014-15 season against in-state foe Weber State on Friday, Nov. 14. The Aggies are 40-26 all-time against the Wildcats, including 24-8 in Logan. It also marks the second-straight season USU has opened up against a Big Sky Conference opponent after taking on Idaho State last season. Additionally, it is the third time in the last three seasons that the Aggies and Wildcats have met in USU's season opener, also meeting in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 season tipoffs.
Utah State's first road game of the season takes the Aggies to Normal, Illinois, to take on Illinois State on Sunday, Nov. 16. USU is 3-3 all-time against ISU, including 1-3 at Normal, playing there for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
USU returns home to square off against Santa Clara on Wednesday, Nov. 19. The Aggies lead the overall series with the Broncos, 5-3, including 2-1 at Logan, meeting for the first time since 2011-12 overall and at Logan for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Utah State plays at Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 22, returning to Starkville, Mississippi, for the first time since the 2011-12 season. The Aggies and Bulldogs are tied at 1-1 in the overall series.
After a trip to the South, Utah State then heads to the West Coast to tangle with UC Davis on Wednesday, Nov. 26, in an all-Aggie clash. USU and UCD are meeting for the first time since the 2012-13 season, and Utah State leads the series, 2-0.
USU hosts BYU on Tuesday, Dec. 2, welcoming the Cougars to the Spectrum for the first time since the 2011-12 season. BYU leads the all-time series, 138-92, but USU holds a 60-51 advantage in Logan.
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