How to watch, projected starters, injuries – Cache Valley Daily

LOGAN – Utah State escaped with a road win at San Diego last time out and will return home to take on a feisty Oral Roberts team. The Golden Eagles have played a very up-and-down schedule with very easy opponents and some very difficult ones. The Aggies are the most in-between team for Oral Roberts so far in terms of difficulty. USU is not only undefeated at home so far but they’ve outscored opponents by 61 combined points in its three home contests. The Golden Eagles will put that dominance to a major test Tuesday evening.

How to watch

  • Tip-off: 7 p.m. MT
  • Location: Dee Glenn Smith Spectrum | Logan, UT
  • Broadcast: Mountain West Network
  • Aggie GameDay Coverage on KVNU (102.1 FM/610 AM & KVNU mobile app): 6 p.m. MT
  • KVNU Aggie Call (102.1 FM/610 AM, KVNU mobile app): Immediately after game ends


Utah State

Ryan Odom noted that an illness that impacted Rylan Jones’ minutes at San Diego is “going through the team” but said he didn’t expect anyone to miss Tuesday’s game.

Oral Roberts

No injurie notes.

Projected Starters

Utah State (4-0)

  • G – Rylan Jones (6-0, Sr.) – 4.3 points | 1.5 rebounds | 5.0 assists
  • G – Max Shulga (6-4, Jr.) – 12.3 points | 5.8 rebounds | 3.0 assists
  • G/F – Sean Bairstow (6-8, Sr.) – 9.0 points | 5.3 rebounds | 1.5 assists
  • F – Taylor Funk (6-9, Gr.) – 18.3 points | 10.0 rebounds | 1.5 assists
  • C – Trevin Dorius (7-0, Sr.) – 4.8 points | 3.0 rebounds | 0.0 assists
  • 6th Man – Steven Ashworth (6-1, Jr.) – 16.3 points | 3.8 rebounds | 6.0 assists

Oral Roberts (3-2)

  • G – Max Abmas (6-1, Sr.) – 14.8 points | 7.4 rebounds | 3.6 assists
  • G – Isaac McBride (6-1, Jr.) – 12.4 points | 2.8 rebounds | 3.4 assists
  • G – Carlos Jurgens (6-5, Sr.) – 7.8 points | 2.4 rebounds | 3.8 assists
  • G/F – Kareem Thompson (6-6, Sr.) – 9.4 points | 4.8 rebounds | 1.8 assists
  • C – Connor Vanover (7-5, Jr.) – 13.4 points | 7.8 rebounds | 1.0 assists
  • 6th Man – DeShang Weaver ( 6-8, Sr.) – 10.2 points | 3.6 rebounds | 0.4 assists

Team Statistical Ranks

Utah State

  • Pace – 72.5 (109th)
  • Offensive Rating – 115.7 (40th)
  • Defensive Rating – 94.6 (139th)
  • Field Goal % – 48.4 (73rd)
  • 3-point % – 43.7 (10th)
  • Rebounding % – 55.7 (47th)
  • KenPom Rating – 48th

Oral Roberts

  • Pace – 73.9 (69th)
  • Offensive Rating – 105.7 (158th)
  • Defensive Rating – 101.1 (247th)
  • Field Goal % – 41.6 (275th)
  • 3-point % – 33.9 (172nd)
  • Rebounding % – 47.5 (304th)
  • KenPom Rating – 106th

It’s easy to be deceived looking at Oral Roberts’ record but this is a very dangerous team. The Golden Eagles boast a former two-time honorable mention All-American in Max Abmas and a 7-5 center that shoots 36 percent on his threes (and takes more than four from deep per game). The two losses Oral Roberts have taken are to Saint Mary’s (which is just outside the top 25) and No. 2 Houston. The Golden Eagles only lost by eight on the road to the Gaels (78-70) but were chewed up and spat out by the Cougars (83-45).

Utah State head coach Ryan Odom said a similar thing about Oral Roberts that he did about San Diego – who the Aggies barely beat on the road last time out – in that they “put five guys out there on the court that can shoot the basketball and drive it as well.”

“They provide a stiff challenge for us and we’re gonna have to be ready to play,” Odom said. “Obviously it starts with Abmas but it doesn’t end there. They’ve got multiple guys that can really play the game.”

Abmas is currently in a shooting slump, making just 35.2 percent of his shots overall and just 29.8 percent from three (his career numbers for each of those prior to this year were 43.7 and 39.4, respectively). It’s largely why he’s currently averaging just 14.8 points after two straight seasons above 22 points per game. His history of scoring make him a dangerous opponent.

The Golden Eagles’ center, Connor Vanover, will be one of the most unique challenges the Aggies have ever faced. Vanover has the ability to shoot threes with a quick release and will finish inside. He’s currently averaging a career-high 13.4 points per game and is shooting better from the floor than he has in any of his previous stops (Vanover is on his third school after time at California and Arkansas). Odom noted the potentially deadly impact Vanover could have in the paint.

“If he catches it near the rim it’s probably over. It’s probably a dunk,” Odom said. “If he’s allowed to just roam inside when the shot goes up he’ll just tip it right in because he’s taller than everybody and longer. So we have to be physical with him without fouling.”

Vanover’s rate of blocking shots may be the most impressive thing about him right now. He’s swatting 4.8 shots per game. He had eight against John Brown, seven against Oklahoma Baptist and six against Saint Mary’s. He’ll be difficult to get a shot off around.

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