NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Mountain West
Past Conferences: MWC, WAC, Big West, PCAA, MSAC, Ind
City: Logan, Utah
Stadium: Smith Spectrum
NCAA Tournaments: 1939, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2019, 2021
National Championships: 0
Conference Titles: 10
The Utah State Aggies men’s basketball team was founded in 1902 but didn’t compete until the 1904 season. They competed as an intercollegiate program for quite some time. Going through the program’s history, the school has achieved a lot while going through some questionable times.
In the 1939 NCAA Tournament, the Aggies would have their first opportunity due to the smaller bracket pool. After losing to the Oklahoma Sooners in the “Elite 8.” They would win the Regional 3rd Place Game against the Texas Longhorns as members of the Mountain States Athletic Conference.
However, the program would miss out for the next two decades; their next opportunity would come in 1962, with Ladell Andersen leading the charge. It would result in a Sweet 16 appearance, but the team would also lose the Regional 3rd Place Game against the Pepperdine Waves. The 1963 season would end as soon as it began; they were unable to overtime the Arizona State Aztecs’ offensive and defensive plays.
The 1964 season’s end result was a bit better, as the program would reach the Sweet 16 after a close battle with the Arizona Wildcats in the opening round. Unfortunately, they would lose in back-to-back games against the San Francisco Dons and the Seattle Redhawks.
Sadly, tragedy would strike the program, as Wayne Estes would pass away. The 6’6″ forward was the second-highest scorer in 1965, behind only Rick Barry, at 33.7 points per game for the Aggies. When he stopped at the scene of a car accident in Logan, he was just about to surpass 2,000 career points with 48 points in a home win over the University of Denver.
The 1970 season would arguably be their best season as an intercollegiate program once again. They were able to notch a 22-7 regular season record as the odds indicated that year. The Aggies took care of business against the UTEP Miners in the first round and ran away with a close victory against the Santa Clara Broncos. In the Elite 8, they would get blown out by the UCLA Bruins.
Following a few NCAA Tournament appearances, the program would go through a tough winless stretch, winning only once against the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2001 in an overtime upset, with the Utah State team stats showcasing their spirits. The UCLA Bruins seemed to have the Aggies’ number as they cruised past them once again in the second round.
While Stew Morrill was in charge of the men’s basketball team, Utah State ranked 4th in the nation in winning percentage at home, behind Duke, Kansas, and Gonzaga. Morrill would see the program join the Big West, the Western Athletic Conference, and the Mountain West Conference.
The Aggies would make the dance a plethora of times, which included a stint in 2021; however, none of the trips produced a win, since some of the losses came to the final minutes of the game. The school would also make a few NIT appearances along the way. Utah State has compiled a record of 6–24 in its NCAA Tournament history.
The NCAAB odds currently show the Mountain West Conference as the second-best in the country, and Ryan Odom is a good bet to win the conference in his second season just behind the San Diego State Aztecs.
Jaycee Carroll 2,522
Sam Merrill 2,197
Greg Grant 2,159
Cornell Green 1,067
Justin Bean 1,027
Greg Grant 1,003
Oscar Williams 562
Sam Merrill 477
Kevin Nixon 428
Greg Grant 226
Jay Goodman 205
Kevin Nixon 190
What Is the Highest Win Total in Program History?
The highest win total in the program’s history was 30 wins. They would achieve this feat twice, both in 2009 and 2011. The Utah State Aggies have started the season on a high note and have a chance to challenge the record.
Who Is the Winningest Coach in Program History?
Stew Morrill had a 17-year run with the program and accumulated an impressive record of 402-156. No other coach has crossed the 250 mark in the program’s history. Dick Romney is second on the list with only 224 wins.
Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?
Due to a tragic accident, one could wonder what Wayne Estes’ potential NBA could have been. Currently, the program’s best basketball player is Sam Merrill, as he was drafted with the last pick of the 2020 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, and became the first Aggie to win an NBA title as member of the Milwaukee Bucks. In addition, he went first overall in the 2022 G-League NBA Draft.