BOISE Utah State holds its postseason destiny in its own hands, and coach Stew Morrill wouldn't have it any other way.
Wins at Boise State tonight and at Idaho on Saturday would give the Aggies a first-place tie in the Western Athletic Conference standings, but more importantly, they would receive the No. 1 seed in next week's WAC tournament.
"It's a good position to be in, in one sense, and a tough position in another," Morrill said. "As I told the players after the win (against Fresno State on Monday), we would have all taken going into our last two conference games having a chance to tie for first."
The task won't be easy for several reasons: First, both Boise State (22-7, 12-3), which the Aggies play tonight at 7 p.m., and Idaho (8-19, 5-10) are playing well at home; and secondly, the Aggies haven't been good on the road 3-8 overall and 2-4 in league games.
"We have not been a strong road team and we are going to have to play better than we have sometimes on the road," Morrill said. "We've gotten to where we've played better (but) just not quite got over the hump a few times.'
The Broncos are 11-4 at home.
Utah State, which is on a three-game winning streak, has lost three straight road games (Nevada, Hawaii and San Jose State).
If the Aggies don't win both games, who knows where they will end up when the dust settles.
Currently Boise State leads at 10-3, while Nevada (10-4), Utah State (10-4) and New Mexico State (10-4) are right on its heels.
"The nature of a bunch of teams being bunched at the top is you can finish anywhere from first to fourth, which doesn't change the fact you had a chance to win the league going into the last weekend," Morrill said.
The Aggies, who finished 17-0 at home, are a much different team on the road. They score eight points less per game on the road, allow 12 more points per game, shoot lower percentages, and allow higher opponent shooting percentages.
The Broncos have one of the WAC's best inside tandems in Reggie Larry and Matt Nelson, who has been injured and is a game-day decision. They average 18 and 15 points, respectively, and that effectiveness allows Tyler Tiedeman and Matt Bauscher to light it up from the perimeter. They are averaging 14 and 9 points, respectively.
"They are pretty dangerous in terms of their offensive production, the percentages they shoot and the combination of a great inside game with a great outside game," Morrill said. "They're just a very balanced, good team."
The Aggies had one of their best overall performances from their bigs in their 79-66 victory over Fresno State on Monday night.
Gary Wilkinson (17), Stephen DuCharme (13) and Tai Wesley (10) combined for 40 points, while Jaycee Carroll, who is averaging over 24 points a game in league contests, scored 33.
The trio also combined for 22 rebounds.
"If we have three posts playing well, it really helps us," Morrill said. "We've got to get our points somewhere, and our posts our high-percentage shooters they (need to) get to the line and all those things that are important to our team."Utah State leads the all-time series with Boise State 21-6, but the Aggies are just 5-6 in Boise. Utah State won the first meeting this year in Logan, 82-78.
Aggies on the air
Utah State (21-9, 10-4) at Boise State (22-7, 12-3)
Today, 7 p.m., Taco Bell Arena
E-mail: [email protected]