LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Utah State had to sweat it out on Selection Sunday, but the Aggies are indeed going dancing.
Utah State earns an 11-seed in the South Region, and will face Texas Tech on Friday at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana at 11:45 a.m. MT in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“When I saw our name I just felt a sense of joy and accomplishment,” said center Neemias Queta. “But at the same time, we want to go in there and make sure we go in there and do what we have to do. We need to make sure we have a good run in the tournament, and make sure we go there to win. Not to just go there and be happy with that, we’re happy but we’re not satisfied yet.”
The Aggies (20-8) were not assured of an automatic bid after losing in the Mountain West Tournament championship game to San Diego State on Saturday.
But with a NET rating of 39, the Aggies were good enough to get an invite. Had the NCAA Tournament been played last year, this would have been Utah State’s third straight bid to the Big Dance.
“Thankfully the committee saw that we’re a tournament caliber team with some talent,” added forward Justin Bean. “We snuck in there, we deserve to be there we believe that, we know that we have the tools on this team to make a run.”
Utah State received an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in school history, joining the 2006 and 2010 teams, that were both 12th seeds.
The Aggies last won a game in the NCAA Tournament in 2001, when the 12th-seeded Aggies recorded a 77-68 overtime win against fifth-seeded Ohio State in the first round. USU earned the Mountain West’s automatic bid to the 2020 NCAA Tournament before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Utah State has played in the NCAA Tournament 13 previous times since seedings started in 1980 and this is the third time it has been an 11 seed. Overall, USU has been listed as an eighth seed once (2019), a 10th seed twice (1983, 1988), an 11th seed three times (1980, 2009, 2021), a 12th seed six times (1998, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2011), a 14th seed once (2005) and a 15th seed once (2003).
Texas Tech (17-10, 9-8 Big 12) lost in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament to Texas on Saturday.
If Utah State wins, they would play either Arkansas or Colgate in the second round.