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Men's basketball: Looking back at the Aggies

On April 8, 2014

Utah State and basketball have been synonymous since the first men’s basketball club was formed in 1904.

Since then, the Aggies have made 20 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, college basketball’s biggest stage.

Of the 20 times USU has been invited to the tournament, the Aggies have totaled six wins and 22 losses, with their deepest run being to the Elite Eight two times — the first in 1939 and second in 1970. Additionally, the Aggies made it to the Sweet Sixteen in 1962.

The earliest invite to the NCAA Tournament in USU history was 1939, which was the first ever NCAA Tournament. The Aggies returned to Logan winners of the regional third-place game.

The winningest tournament team belonged to the 1970 Aggies. They put on a show at Brigham Young in Provo, Utah with a first round win over UTEP and beat Santa Clara in round two at the University of Washington in Seattle before suffering a lopsided 101-79 loss to eventual national champion UCLA .

The win over Santa Clara was USU’s fifth all-time, with the Aggies’ only win since coming against No. 5-seeded Ohio state 77-68 in overtime in 2001.

The most recent time the Aggies have participated in March Madness was 2011, the sixth-straight NCAA Tournament in which USU failed to win a game.

All of these games have been close, however, with USU losing three of the six games by fewer than five points.

USU has also recieved invites the National Invitational Tournament and the Collegeinsider.com Tournament, with records of 2-9 in the NIT in nine total appearances and 4-1 in the CIT in one appearance.

In 1960, the first time USU was invited to the NIT, the Aggies won in the first round, lost in the second round and won the third-place game. In their next eight appearances, the Aggies suffered a first round defeat — the latest 2008 where USU lost to Illinois State 57-61.

USU’s most recent postseason tournament appearance came in 2012 in the CIT.

The CIT is one of college basketball’s newest tournaments, with 2009 being is inaugural season.

USU was selected to host the tournament and the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum played host for all of USU’s five games. USU fed off the home crowd and came away with victories in each of the first four rounds. However, the Aggies struggled in the championship game, suffering a 70-67 defeat to the Mercer Bears.

In 110 years of basketball history at USU, the Aggies have amassed a 12-32 record in 30 total tournament appearances. They have two third-place finishes and one second-place finish but have never won an invitational tournament.

USU will have a tall order to fill this coming season with five seniors graduating and four other players choosing to part ways with the team.

kalen.s.taylor@gmail.com
Twitter: @kalen_taylor

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