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In each of the last two seasons, Utah State benefited from its padded non-conference slate and steamrolled the WAC, only to lose in the first round of the tournament.
The Aggies lost a heartbreaker to Marquette in 2009 and then were demolished by a Texas A&M team they didn't match up with well.
This could be the year that Utah State reaches the Sweet 16.
First of all, the Aggies are led by upperclassmen, most of whom appeared in at least one of the recent first-round exits. Tai Wesley, Brian Green, Nate Bendall, Pooh Williams, Brady Jardine and Tyler Newbold have all been to the tournament and their experience in the Big Dance will help when the Aggies return to March Madness.
Also, Utah State is extremely efficient on both ends of the floor. Kenpom has the Aggies at No. 36 in offensive efficiency and No. 49 in defensive efficiency. Utah State is also No. 1 in preventing opponents from snatching offensive boards.
In terms of style, the Aggies have a nice balance of guards and big men. Wesley and Jardine are probably both top five power forwards in the WAC, and Green, Williams, Newbold, and Brockeith Pane combine for 36.5 points per game.
In other words, Utah State efficiently employs an offensive system utilizing all of its weapons instead of focusing on one centerpiece.
Utah State is experienced and balanced. The Aggies are poised to play on the tournament's second weekend.