LOGAN — It is only the second game of Western Athletic Conference play, but Saturday night's Utah State-Nevada matchup has all the makings of a championship bout.

Every year since the 2003-2004 season when Nevada shared the WAC title with UTEP, Utah State or Nevada has won at least a share of the conference championship. The Wolf Pack won five straight from 2003-04 to 2007-08 and the Aggies have four straight of their own starting with a shared title in 2007-08 until now.

This season is expected to be no different. In the preseason, the coaches voted Nevada as the favorite to win the title, while the media selected Utah State. After rocky starts, both teams appear to be headed to contending for the title again.

While winning at home against Nevada is an important step for Utah State, it is not the end-all, be-all for head coach Stew Morrill. In previous years the Aggies (9-6, 1-0) could not afford a misstep in conference play for fear of losing a national ranking or a possible at-large NCAA bid. This team according to Morrill just has to focus on consistent improvement.

"Every game is important. To me, we are just trying to get some wins. That's where this team is at, trying to get some wins and trying to get better," Morrill said following the Aggies win over Fresno State on Thursday night. "It's been like we have to win every game around here for lots of years and that's not the situation we are in. That's the last thing this team needs.

"We defended our home court the first night out and that's all we did. If we can defend it against the team picked to win the league that would be really positive. That is not going to be easy, they have a lot of talented guys."

The talent starts with Deonte Burton, the head of the Wolf Pack offense.The sophomore is an early favorite for WAC Player of the Year scoring 15 points a game and nearly five assists and dominated Idaho in Nevada's conference opener with 26 points and six assists in a 73-55 win.

It's not just a one-man show, either. Senior Dario Hunt has come on strong after a slow start to the season and is averaging 15.6 points and 9.8 boards in his last five games for Nevada (11-3, 1-0).

Duke transfer Olek Czyz makes an athletic compliment to Hunt and is tough to stop, and Indiana transfer Malik Story has always been a streak shooter, but is making over 50 percent from beyond the arc this season and can single-handedly put away a team when he's hot.

"We know they are picked to win the league. It's going to be fun," Aggie forward Kysiean Reed said. "They are long, they are athletic, they are quick. They are a lot of things, but they aren't unbeatable."

Despite being two of the top teams in the league since the Aggies joined the WAC the series has been surprisingly lopsided as of late. Nevada has lost five straight to the Aggies and have not won in the Spectrum since Utah State's first year in the conference.

"We always want to come out on our home court and win the game obviously," said sophomore guard Preston Medlin. "We want to come out fight hard and bring a lot of energy. We should do well on Saturday. "

Aggies on the air

Nevada (11-3, 1-0) at Utah State (9-6, 1-0)

Today, 7 p.m. (MT)

Smith Spectrum, Logan


Radio: 97.5 FMUVU on the air

Seattle (3-9) at Utah Valley (7-10)

Today, 7 p.m. (MT)

UCCU Events Center, Orem


Radio: 97.5 FMSUU on the air

North Dakota St. (10-4, 3-2) at Southern Utah (7-8, 2-3)

Today, 7:30 p.m. (MT)

Smith Spectrum, Logan

TV: none

Radio: 91.1 FM