Opponent Preview: Wolverines to take on in-state foe Utah State
Utah Valley University vs Utah State University
Where: Logan, Utah
When: Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.
The Wolverines have yet another in-state matchup early on in the season, taking on Logan foe Utah State University. UVU didn’t face-off against USU last season, but have lost considerably to USU in previous matchups in past seasons.
Quick Glance: Utah State University
Location: Logan, Utah
Conference: Mountain West Conference (MWC)
2017-2018 Season: 17-17 (overall), 8-10 (conference), 11-4 (home), 2-11 (away)
The Aggies had a relatively disappointing performance last season. USU’s recent seasons haven’t necessarily been impressive by any measure. Former head coach Tim Duryea took over the program in 2015 and left behind a 47-49 overall record. His conference record left something to be desired as well, as the Aggies went 22-32 in the Mountain West.
Duryea was fired at the end of last season on the heels of USU’s MWC tournament loss in the semi-finals to the University of New Mexico. In the previous two seasons, Duryea failed to make it passed the conference quarterfinals and never received an NCAA tournament bid in his coaching career.
It is currently hard to gauge the talent level of the Aggies this season. USU did defeat Montana State University 101-71 in its home opener, but MSU hasn’t necessarily been the most intimidating of opponents. USU beat MSU last season 81-73 as well before moving on to the remainder of a somewhat lukewarm season.
What can be said for USU is that they are a tough team to beat on their homecourt. The Aggies went 11-4 at home last season and provided an intense environment for any incoming team. However, according to The Utah Statesman, student attendance has significantly dropped within the last few seasons. Averaging 2,867 students in attendance of men’s conference home games in 2010, last season saw an average of 984 students occupying the stands.
Although UVU historically has not played well against USU in recent years, the matchup this season seems to hold a different meaning. UVU’s off-season moves and six year contract extension of Mark Pope give the impression that the Wolverines are heading in the right direction. The matchup against the Aggies will give UVU a good opportunity to prove that they intend to take a stronger footing within the Utah college basketball landscape.
Photo courtesy of: UVU Athletics