Utah State won the WAC's regular season title and carried a 17-game winning streak into Saturday night's league title game, but their postseason fate is now in the hands of the NCAA Tournament selection committee after being dealt a 69-63 loss by New Mexico State. The loss was their first since Jan. 4.
The game featured two teams both nicknamed the "Aggies," a fact included here only to highlight how difficult it is to write about a game where this is the case.
The Aggies (the winning ones) were led by tournament MVP Jahmar Young's 19 points. Young was also the hero in Friday night's semifinal when he hit the game-winner against host Nevada.
"This team has a bunch of hard workers," New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies said. "We knew this would be a war, and we put ourselves in position to win the war. Most importantly, we did what we needed to be done defensively."
The Aggies (the losing ones) are now forced to spend Sunday waiting and rooting against fellow bubble teams Minnesota and Mississippi State. USU is 27-7, won the WAC regular season by three games, has an RPI of 30, went 2-1 against teams in RPI top 50, but lost a pair of games to teams ranked above 100 in the RPI.
"We've done everything that's been asked of us," said Utah State head coach and horse look-alike Stew Morrill. "If we don't get in, it makes things really tough. Our body of work clearly shows that we should be in the NCAA Tournament."