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Instant reaction: 5 things to know about Utah State

We’ll dive into deep analyses later - what are the basics we need to know about Utah State?

NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- San Diego St vs Utah St Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Texas Tech’s first-round opponent has been determined, we’ll take a quick look at some of the basics you need to know about the 2021 Utah State men’s basketball team.

1. They’re the Mountain West runners up

Utah State lost to San Diego State in the conference championship after defeating UNLV and Colorado State to earn its spot in the title game. The Aztecs were too much for the Aggies, winning 68-57 behind Matt Mitchell’s 14 points.

2. Their best player is their center

Stopping Neemias Queta will be the focal point for Texas Tech from a defensive standpoint. The 7’0 Portugal native is averaging a double-double with 15.1 points and 10 rebounds per game on an impressive 55.7 field goal percentage. He’s a traditional center who is not going to stretch the floor, but his dominating presence in the paint is still something to account for.

NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- San Diego St vs Utah St Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

3. They play elite defense

It certainly helps to have a 7-footer locking down the paint in the Mountain West Conference, but the Aggies play solid team defense as a whole. KenPom ranks them No. 8 in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, which measures points allowed per 100 possessions.

4. They have four players shooting above 35 percent from three

Brock Miller, Alphonso Anderson, Steven Ashworth and Sean Bairstow all can hit from beyond the arc. They don’t do a whole else exceptionally well, but they can certainly cause problems for defenses who don’t guard the perimeter well.

5. They’ve played one of the weakest schedules in the country

Despite their 20-8 record, the Aggies have zero wins against ranked opponents, and have suffered some bad losses to South Dakota State and UNLV, while getting swept by Boise State. This will be by far the most talented and athletic roster Utah State has encountered all season.

Bonus: Marco Anthony is a legend

The San Antonio product wears the No. 44 in honor of the Wendy’s 4-for-4 promotion. He’s a key player for the Aggies, too, contributing 10 points and five boards per game.

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