The Utah State Aggies intention to return to the Large Dance this season for the primary time since falling to Texas Tech within the first spherical of the NCAA Event in 2021. At the moment sitting within the fourth spot within the Mountain West Convention, the Aggies are simply a few video games again of the top-seeded San Diegao State Aztecs.
Ought to the Aggies achieve success in punching a ticket to the large dance, it could be the twenty-third time that they’ve certified for the season-ending event (they’d have formally certified for the 2020 event based mostly on capturing the Mountain West title).
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On the helm of the Aggies’ current success is head coach Ryan Odom who’s in his second 12 months at Utah State after coming over from the College of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers. Odom would substitute Craig Smith, who after three seasons at Utah State would transfer two hours away to take over as head coach of the Utah Utes.
In his quick time at Utah State, Smith would information his crew to 3 straight NCAA Event invites, though the Aggies would twice be knocked out within the first spherical.
Previous to being employed at Utah State, Odom would begin his teaching profession as a graduate assistant with the South Florida Bulls earlier than making transient stops in Furman, UNC Ashville, and American. Odom’s longest tenure would come as certainly one of Seth Greenburg’s assistant coaches at Virginia for seven years.
Odom’s remaining function as an assistant coach would come as a part of the Charlotte 49ers employees. It was right here that he might obtain his first alternative to behave as head coach, albeit in an interim function. After leaving Charlotte, Odom accepted the top teaching function for the NCAA Division II Lenoir-Rhyne Bears for one season.
Most school basketball followers would probably acknowledge Odom’s title because the 2017-18 Retrievers had been the primary sixteen-seed crew in NCAA Event historical past to knock off a number-one seed. Matched up with the Virginia Cavaliers in Odom’s second season at UMBC, the Retrievers shocked the hoops world with a convincing 74-54 victory.
Change of Course
Upon being employed by Athletic Director John Hartwell, Odom said, “We’re going to be a high 25 crew 12 months in and 12 months out. We need to advance within the NCAA Event. We’ve got the help right here to have the ability to try this. It’s on us to get it finished.”
Identified for his up-tempo, three-point capturing offense, the remaining Aggies shortly purchased into Odom’s player-friendly fashion. Nonetheless, the lack of seven gamers from the earlier season, together with three graduate transfers, 4 transfers, and Neemias Queta, an NBA draftee, actually impacted Odom’s first season with the Aggies because the crew had to determine who one another was.
With a handful of underclassmen and a pair of portal transfers, the 2021-22 Aggies had little within the cabinet in the way in which of go-to gamers aside from grad senior Justin Bean and UMBC switch Brandon Horvath, the one two gamers to common double digits in scoring.
After shedding their first non-conference recreation, the Aggies would win six straight earlier than shedding 4 of their final seven video games of 2021. A five-game successful streak can be sandwiched between a pair of four-game losses, basically squashing all hope of Odom receiving an invitation to the NCAA Event in his first season at Utah State. As a substitute, the Aggies must accept a spot within the NIT, the place they’d lose to the Oregon Geese within the first spherical.
Whereas Bean would go on to signal a free agent take care of the LA Clippers after going undrafted, Odom would substitute his stats with a pair of confirmed switch gamers.
This 12 months an skilled senior and junior class tempo Utah State in all main stat classes. In truth, the Aggies function only one true freshman, Mason Falslev, a walk-on guard. Led by the quintet of Steven Ashworth (Jr), Taylor Funk (Grad S), Dan Akin (Grad S), Max Shulga (Jr), and Sean Bairstow (Sr), the Aggies began the season on a nine-game successful streak.
It wouldn’t be till the second week of February that Odom’s crew would lose back-to-back video games, an indication of a crew capable of bounce again from adversity.
At the moment, the one Mountain West crew locked into the NCAA Event is the San Diego State Aztecs, however with a little bit little bit of assist, the Aggies could possibly be a part of one or two extra groups listening to their title referred to as on Choice Sunday. For instance, suppose Utah State can observe up its dominant victory over UNLV with one other strong win over Boise State to shut out its common season schedule. In that case, it might persuade the choice committee sufficient to earn a bid.
Fairly than put all of their hopes on a pair of standard season video games, the Aggies might put a number of stress on the choice committee and the remainder of the event area with a stellar exhibiting within the Mountain West Convention Event. Ought to the Aggies be capable of pull off a victory towards the Aztecs, the Broncos, or the Nevada Wolfpack within the convention event, they are going to nearly actually discover their manner off of the event bubble.
As the choice committee (and followers) learn extra into the Aggies NET (NCAA Analysis Device), they most actually will take discover that Odom’s crew is among the many high twenty-five, regardless of having an 0-4 document towards Quad 1 groups.
Whereas they could have struggled towards the top-tier groups, the Aggies have been practically flawless towards Quad 2 groups with an 8-1 document, which can undoubtedly play of their favor as they appear to make the sphere of 68.
Being a mid-major program, the Aggies may also must lean on hopes that energy 5 convention groups corresponding to North Carolina, Michigan, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech will proceed to wrestle of their common season finale and convention event play.