Photo by Robert K. Scott.
With its biggest win of the season – both based on NET rankings and emotional impact, still clearly visible in the rearview mirror – Utah State will travel to Laramie for a chance to keep the momentum going against a beleaguered Wyoming Cowboys squad.
How to watch
- Tip-off: 7 p.m. MT
- Location: Arena-Auditorium | Laramie, WY
- TV Broadcast: CBS Sports 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
G – Rylan Jones (Undisclosed) – OUT
Jones has missed the last 12 games. Utah State has not disclosed the nature of the injury though USA Today reports the senior has concussion-like symptoms. No timetable has been provided for a return.
G – Kenny Foster (Back) – OUT
G – Noah Reynolds (Concussion) – OUT
F – Graham Ike (Leg) – OUT
G – Ethan Anderson (Left Team) – OUT
G – Jake Kyman (Left Team) – OUT
F – Ethan Anderson (Left Team) – OUT
Utah State (21-7, 10-5, 4th in MW)
- G – Steven Ashworth (6-1, Jr.) – 15.8 points | 3.3 rebounds | 4.6 assists
- G – Max Shulga (6-4, Jr.) – 11.9 points | 4.5 rebounds | 4.0 assists
- G/F – Sean Bairstow (6-8, Sr.) – 10.8 points | 4.9 rebounds | 2.6 assists
- F – Taylor Funk (6-9, Gr.) – 13.4 points | 5.4 rebounds | 1.8 assists
- C – Trevin Dorius (7-0, Sr.) – 6.1 points | 3.8 rebounds | 0.3 assists
- 6th Man – Dan Akin (6-9, Gr.) – 12.1 points | 7.1 rebounds | 0.8 assists
Wyoming (8-18, 3-11, 11th in MW)
- G – Xavier DuSell (6-4, Jr.) – 6.9 points | 2.6 rebounds | 0.5 assists
- G – Hunter Maldonado (6-7, Sr.) – 14.7 points | 4.4 rebounds | 3.8 assists
- F – Brendan Wenzel (6-7, Jr.) – 8.1 points | 4.0 rebounds | 0.6 assists
- F – Jeremiah Oden (6-7, Jr.) – 8.6 points | 3.6 rebounds | 0.8 assists
- F – Hunter Thompson (6-10, Sr.) – 6.9 points | 5.1 rebounds | 1.0 assists
Team Statistical Ranks
Stats and ratings are from Basketball Reference (except the NET ranking). All ranks are out of 363 Division I teams.
- Pace – 69.0 (147th)
- Offensive Rating – 113.8 (17th)
- Defensive Rating – 101.8 (202nd)
- Field Goal % – 48.0 (25th)
- 3-point % – 40.5 (1st)
- Rebounding % – 53.2 (47th)
- NET Rank – 33rd
- Pace – 66.3 (283rd)
- Offensive Rating – 104.6 (176th)
- Defensive Rating – 107.3 (312th)
- Field Goal % – 44.8 (177th)
- 3-point % – 34.8 (161st)
- Rebounding % – 49.7 (233rd)
- NET Rank – 182nd
The last time Utah State faced Wyoming it resulted in a 20-point victory for the Aggies. But the Cowboys that USU will face on Tuesday will be much different looking. On the one hand, they added two players who didn’t play against the Aggies – Hunter Thompson and Brendan Wenzel – but they also lost three rotation guys in Max Agbonkpolo, Jake Kyman and Ethan Anderson who chose to leave the team and will be transferring. The Cowboys will still be without Graham Ike and Noah Reynolds who are both out for the season and both missed the previous game against Utah State.
“We’ve got to be ready for how they’re playing at the present as opposed to how they were playing in Logan,” USU head coach Ryan Odom said.
Though Utah State didn’t face Thompson and Wenzel last time, most of the Aggies did face them last year. Odom said he thinks his players “have a general feel” for the Wyoming players but said “that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be challenging” to face a team that will be notably different from the last time they played.
Wyoming’s remaining star is one who’s dominated the Mountain West for four straight seasons: Hunter Maldonado. The sixth-year senior leads his team in points (14.7) and assists (3.8) while being second in rebounds (4.4). Maldonado is an all-around player through which Wyoming runs nearly everything.
“He’s just a really good player. Really effective player,” Odom said. “Plays the game the right way. Can score, can pass, can dish, can rebounds, can defend. He makes free throws. He does it all for his team and is a competitor.”
This game will be a chance for Utah State to build more momentum heading into a huge final week of the season where it’ll face UNLV and Boise State. The Aggies can continue to work on weaknesses such as defensive rebounding. USU gave up 30 combined offensive rebounds in losses to San Diego State and San Jose State. In the last two games the Aggies allowed just seven combined offensive rebounds. Wyoming rank close to the bottom third of Division I in rebounding so this could be another chance to dominate the boards.
Utah State remains in fourth place in the Mountain West standings but with help could move into a tie for third place with Nevada (although the Wolf Pack would have a tiebreaker over the Aggies by virtue of a better record vs San Diego State), if Nevada were to lost to San Jose State and USU were to take care of business