Looking for a Cinderella? The Utah State Aggies are Here for You

Kraig WilliamsContributor IMarch 1, 2010

BOISE, ID - MARCH 20:  Head Coach Stew Morrill of the Utah State Aggies adjusts his team during the game against the Marquette Golden Eagles in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Taco Bell Arena on March 20, 2009 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images


Despite winning their last 12 games, Utah State is likely to stay unranked when the top 25 polls come out.

Even with an RPI currently sitting at 33, the Aggies aren't mentioned in any of the national media's bubble talk. Stew Morrill's club is leading the nations 10th rated conference and is an afterthought for the regular college hoops fan. 

The Aggies don't care that nobody cares and that's exactly why they make the perfect choice for an early Cinderella candidate.

Coming into the season Utah State was trying to replace a conference Player of the Year for the second straight season. Additionally, with defensive specialist, Pooh Williams, out with a broken foot to start the season, the Aggies dropped games they should not have, at Utah and at Northeastern.  Their bubble had already burst and it wasn't even December yet.

Conference season didn't start any better for USU, losing a close one at New Mexico State and getting blown out at Louisiana Tech. It was at this point that the Aggies looked done and it looked as if they would finish under 23 wins for the first time in over a decade. 

Then a funny thing happened: the Aggies figured out how to play team ball and haven't dropped a game since.

The Aggies don't have a star like they had in years past like Gary Wilkinson and Jaycee Carroll.  In fact, they probably wont even have anyone make first team All-WAC and it's debatable if anyone even scratches the second team. It is this kind of perfect storm as to why this team will be dangerous in March in my opinion.

A quick look at the statistics and you'll come across unimpressed. Nobody averages more than 13 points per game and they play at a pace that will put the average fan to sleep (62 possessions a game, 326th slowest in the nation). 

When you dig a little deeper, you can see why they will be a force to be reckoned with. They are 13th in the nation in FG% (48.5), first in the nation in 3pt percentage (42.3), fourth in the nation points per possession (1.142) and seventh in the nation in fewest turnovers (10.3 per game).

Critics will say they haven't played anyone (a pretty average strength of schedule of 97) or that they can't win away from the incredible home court advantage of the Dee Glenn Smith Spectrum. The Aggies best road wins are at RPI No. 70 Weber State and No. 77 Nevada.

Utah State doesn't care that you are not paying attention to them... which is exactly why you should look out for them if they make the NCAA tournament.