Idaho (19-13) at Utah State (18-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 17, 9:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: None. CIT Record: Idaho 2-1, Utah State 1-0. Series Record: Utah State leads, 33-14.
GAME NOTES: Western Athletic Conference rivals meet up again in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament tonight when the Idaho Vandals travel to Logan to take on the Utah State Aggies.
With an 86-83 win over UC Santa Barbara in the first round, Idaho upped its overall record to 19-13, and with a win tonight, it would earn its 20th win for the first time since the 1992-93 season when head coach Larry Eustachy led the squad to a 24-8 record. A win would also give the Vandals back-to-back postseason triumphs for the first time in school history.
While Utah State is in the midst of an average season by its standards (18-15), it is playing in its 13th straight postseason tournament, which is a school record and the 11th longest active streak in the nation. The Aggies were able to avenge a quarterfinal loss to Louisiana Tech in the WAC Tournament by winning its first round CIT bout with Cal State Bakersfield, 75-69.
As members of the WAC, these two teams are very familiar with each other, with Utah State having an advantage on the all-time series over Idaho, 33-14. The teams split the season series this year, with Idaho attempting to claim two wins against the Aggies for the first time since 1957.
Idaho State struggled with the UCSB scoring attack in the first round, allowing 83 points to the Gauchos on 54.8 percent from the field, and it nearly gave up a 13-point halftime lead. But the Vandals were able to hold them off by shooting 50.8 percent from the floor themselves, including 18- of-27 from the free-throw stripe. They got a couple of big scoring performances from Deremy Geiger (22 points) and Stephen Madison (20 points), while Landon Tatum dished out 10 assists. The Vandal offense has been very effective on the season, scoring 70.1 ppg on 47.9 percent form the field. While they don't have much star power, they have plenty of balance with Geiger (13.2 ppg), Kyle Barone (13.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Madison (12.2 ppg). Idaho is also the most effective three-point shooting team in the WAC, draining an outstanding 39.4 percent of its triples.
Utah State was very efficient in its first round win over Bakersfield, shooting 50 percent from the floor and 26-of-36 from the free-throw line. Preston Medlin continued with his fantastic season by tallying 24 points, six assists, and five rebounds, and he now averages a team-high 16.5 ppg along with 4.9 rpg, 3.4 apg, and 2.5 three-pointers per game. Kyisean Reed recorded 16 points and eight rebounds in the win, while Brockeith Pane and Morgan Grim added 15 points apiece. While Utah State's offensive production has been substandard by WAC standards on the season (67.2 ppg), it is no stranger to high field goal percentages, as it connects on 47.2 percent of its shots overall. Pane (12.4 ppg, 3.9 apg), Reed (9.7 ppg), and Grim (8.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) provide ample support for Medlin on offense, while USU also plays great defense, surrendering just 64.2 ppg to its opponents.
Though Idaho has the personnel to take down the Aggies in this matchup, Utah State has a great homecourt advantage on its side, winning 14-of-18 in Logan, including a 17-point win over the Vandals on Feb. 24. While Idaho will keep it closer this time around, expect the Aggies to advance to the quarterfinals.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 75, Idaho 68
03/17 10:33:16 ET
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