Let’s get this out of the way quickly: Utah State is not playing good basketball — at least not by the standards they’ve set in recent years.
Yet, the Aggies are 8-1 after Saturday night’s 67-57 win at Idaho State.
And Stew Morrill will take it.
USU completed a four-game swing away from home with a 3-1 record and the only loss coming to a very good BYU team at EnergySolutions Arena.
And in the process Utah State has exposed itself as a team still trying to find an identity.
It used to look like Gary Wilkinson, the lone senior on the roster, was going to load the Aggies on his big shoulders and carry them. He certainly has the emotion and talent to do so.
Lately, however, he’s been — how do we say this? — off. One rumor had him suffering from an illness of some sort and lacking his usual energy in Pocatello.
He’s still getting some decent numbers at times and is still among the national leaders in shooting. But he’s getting double and triple teamed and sometimes seems a half step slow in finding the open man or in muscling up a shot. At times, he’s been forcing up those shots a little late and under too much pressure.
As a result, his shooting percentage — once as high as 75 percent — is now down the 69.5 percent. Most basketball players would give up a sibling to have a similar percentage, but it’s a little troubling for USU because Wilkinson’s slip in production has coincided with three games against less-than-imposing opposition.
If Utah State hopes to see it’s win streak reach four games, Wilkinson better reconnect with the dominating force he was just two weeks ago.