INDIANAPOLIS (ABC4 Sports) – Utah State opens up the NCAA tournament against Texas Tech Friday as a decided underdog, and Aggies head coach Craig Smith knows it will be a tough test for sure.
“The initial scout is take a lot of Tylenol because they are a headache for sure,” said Smith. “We’re excited for the challenge though. We have our work cut out for us, what a great opportunity. They have a national pedigree, two years ago they played in the national championship game.”
The Aggies have three players on their roster, Neemias Queta, Justin Bean, and Brock Miller who played in Utah State’s last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019, a loss against Washington. Marco Anthony also has NCAA tournament experience, having played on the Virginia team who beat the Red Raiders in the 2019 national championship game.
Utah State (20-8) has not won an NCAA Tournament game since beating Ohio State in overtime in 2001. The Aggies are 0-8 since that win over the Buckeyes. But with a defensive presence like Queta, who is was the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and one of only two players in the NCAA since the 1992-93 season to average more than 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game, the Aggies have a chance.
“We’re going to compete,” Smith said. “They want to make the game a street fight and they do a great job with that. “We do a good job of making the game ugly so it makes for an interesting matchup. We’re excited to go out there and compete and see what we can do against the best.”
You can watch the game Friday, March 19th at 11:45 AM on TNT.