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

LOGAN — Utah State’s season opening win over South Dakota Mines went about as well as one could hope, but now the Aggies must face a Division I opponent for the first time this year. It’ll mark the first major test for Danny Sprinkle’s new squad.

How to watch

  • Tip-off: 6 p.m. MT on Saturday, Nov. 11

  • Location: Carver Arena (Peoria, IL)

  • KVNU Aggie GameDay with Al Lewis: 5 p.m. (or soon after the conclusion of Aggie Call following the Utah State-Nevada football game)

  • KVNU Aggie Call with Al Lewis: Immediately after Coach Sprinkle’s post-game comments

  • TV Broadcast: ESPN+

  • Radio Broadcast: KVNU (102.1 FM, 610 AM) in Logan; KVNU (98.3) in Tremonton; KVNU (93.5) in Garden City; KZNS (97.5 FM, 1280 AM) in Salt Lake City; KRPX (102.7 FM) in Green River, Utah; KRPX (100.3 FM) in Moab; KRPX (95.9 FM) in Orangeville; KRPX (95.3 FM) in Price; KVSI (1450 AM/104.5 FM) in Montpelier, Idaho.


Utah State

  • Max Agbonkpolo (Foot) – Game-Time Decision

  • Ian Martinez (Eligibility Waiver) – Questionable


  • Trey Pettigrew (Left Team)

Utah State head coach Danny Sprinkle said Max Agbonkpolo will be a game-time decision pretty much the entire season due to foot soreness tied to breaking a bone in his foot while at USC. His availability for Saturday will be entirely dependent on how his foot feels on game day. Ian Martinez will remain out until and unless his appeal for eligibility as a second-time transfer is granted by the NCAA. There is optimism from the team that they’ll not only hear back soon, but that Martinez may be granted eligibility for this season.

For Bradley the only notable absence is guard Trey Pettigrew. The sophomore guard, a transfer from Nevada, apparently didn’t gel with the team following his arrival at Bradley in the spring and has left the team as confirmed by Braves head coach Brian Wardle.

Projected Starters

Utah State (1-0)

  • G – Darius Brown (6-2, Sr.) – 10.0 points | 1.0 rebounds | 7.0 assists

  • G – Mason Falslev (6-3, Fr.) – 17.0 points | 5.0 rebounds | 5.0 assists

  • G – Josh Uduje (6-5, Jr.) – 19.0 points | 2.0 rebounds | 1.0 assists

  • F – Great Osobor (6-8, Jr.) – 14.0 points | 9.0 rebounds | 4.0 assists

  • C – Isaac Johnson (7-0, So.) – 9.0 points | 3.9 rebounds | 0.2 assists

Bradley (1-0)

  • G – Duke Deen (5-8, Sr.) – 15.0 points | 4.0 rebounds | 4.0 assists

  • G – Connor Hickman (6-3, Jr.) – 8.0 points | 1.0 rebounds | 3.0 assists

  • F – Darius Hannah (6-8, Sr.) – 14.0 points | 6.0 rebounds | 5.0 assists

  • F – Malevy Leons (6-9, Sr.) – 24.0 points | 14.0 rebounds | 1.0 assists

  • C – Ahmet Jonovic (7-1, So.) – 2.0 points | 1.0 rebounds | 0.0 assists

Team Statistical Ranks

Pace and offense/defense efficiency ratings via Ken Pomeroy. All ranks are out of 363 Division I teams.

Utah State

  • Pace – 71.1 (197th)

  • Offensive Efficiency – 104.0 (120th)

  • Defensive Efficiency – 98.7 (103rd)

  • Field Goal % – 62.9 (6th)

  • 3-point % – 52.9 (7th)

  • Offensive Rebounding % – 57.7 (2nd)

  • Total Rebounding % – 69.1 (5th)

  • KenPom Rank – 98th


  • Pace – 68.7 (331st)

  • Offensive Efficiency – 102.9 (139th)

  • Defensive Efficiency – 96.7 (73rd)

  • Field Goal % – 43.1 (215th)

  • 3-point % – 33.3 (162nd)

  • Offensive Rebounding % – 22.9 (306th)

  • Total Rebounding % – 45.6 (305th)

  • KenPom Rank – 93rd


Last year the Aggies hosted the Braves and won a brilliant 84-62 victory over a team that would eventually win 25 games that season, though the absence of Bradley’s star forward Rienk Mast in that game certainly helped USU.

Bradley will once again be without Mast as he transferred to Nebraska this past summer, but many familiar faces return for the Braves in this rematch. Four starters from that game are with the team again, including Duke Deen (whose 15 points against USU led the Braves in that game), Darius Hannah, Malevy Leons and Connor Hickman.

The Braves also still have Wardle as their head coach, now in his ninth year in Peoria as the head coach, who’s led the team to 20-win seasons in four of the last six years. Sprinkle hasn’t coached against Wardle, but does have a small connection with the Bradley coach. The two played against each other in 1997. Sprinkle, as a junior at Montana State, travelled to Marquette where Wardle was a freshman. Wardle ended up scoring 19 points to Sprinkle’s 8 in an 84-60 win for Marquette.

“His team’s play just how he did,” Sprinkle said. “He’s gonna be physical. He’s gonna knock you down. He’s gonna dive for every loose ball. He’s gonna knock down shots. They play just how their coach is.”

Unlike the Aggies, who faced a Division II opponent at home for their season opener, Bradley went on the road to face UAB for its first contest of the year. The first half went swimmingly for the Braves as they held a 40-24 lead, but the Blazers flipped the script in the second half, outscoring Bradley 40-24 to force overtime where Bradley escaped with a 73-71 win.

The Braves ran a fairly thin rotation in their opener with just eight players seeing minutes and a heavy reliance on Leons (38 minutes), Deen (40), Hannah (36) and Hickman (37). Starting center Ahmet Jonovic played just 11 minutes and was not part of the closing lineup, nor did he play in overtime.

Utah State and Bradley have some similarities in that both are defensive-oriented teams. The Braves ranked 21st in points allowed per game last year (the 84 USU scored against them was the third-highest allowed by Bradley last year) and opened up this season by holding a typically high-scoring UAB team (like, 80 points per game high) to just 64 points in regulation.

“They’re long, they’re athletic. They can switch everything one through five. And they cause you a lot of problems,” Sprinkle said of Bradley’s defense.

Leading the way on defense for Bradley is Leons, a 6-foot-9 versatile forward who won the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year award last year. Leons is able to defend inside and out, averaging both 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game last year. And alongside Leons in the frontcourt is the 6-foot-8 forward Darius Hannah, a player who made the leap from key bench player last year to key starter this season. The two will form the center/power forward duo as a small-ball lineup for much of the game.

“They’re a problem. They’re very good players,” Sprinkle said. “They’re 6-8, but they’re really athletic. They’re fast, they’re quick. And they’re relentless. If you take your eyes off them they’re back-cutting you. They’re going to the offensive glass and getting tip-dunks. They’re face-cutting you. They do a really good job with their movement and playing off Duke Deen.”

Deen is a key to the team’s offense. He’s a quick 5-foot-8 guard who is one of the most prolific off-the-bounce shooters in the country last season. Deen is able to get to any spot on the court and can take any shot on the court, though his efficiency is up-and-down at times (last year he made just 37.3 percent of his field goal attempts). If he’s not taking his shot, Deen is finding other players who are open. Sprinkle said the team will need to “be able to control Duke Deen because he’s the heart and soul of that team.”

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