Utah State has played nine basketball games, won eight of them and lost only to a strong BYU team by just five points on a neutral floor.
So why are there grumblings about if the Aggies are legit?
Beats me, actually, an I’ve been one of the guys sitting around after the games wondering what’s wrong with Stew Morrill’s team even after a road win.
The reason for that might just be Morrill’s incredible run of success has created some equally incredible expecations. And when the Aggies beat Southern Utah by ‘only 7 points and follows that up by beating Idaho State by ‘only’ 10 it’s might come as no surprise fans and other observers wonder why the margin of victory wasn’t larger.
But a little more thought — not to mention giving the Thunderbirds and Bengals a little credit — gives some insight.
While the Aggies are playing quite well and shooting the ball at a nation’s-best clip, there is some obvious room for improvement.
Utah State has had it’s issues at the point guard position. Jaxon Myaer started the first several games, but never got off the bench Saturday at Idaho State. Deremy Geiger, likewise, has seen limited playing time. Both are freshmen and both are undersized.
But both have shown the potential Morrill knows is there.
Meanwhile, junior college transfer Jared Quayle has stepped into the starting spot after playing the two-guard most of the time. He’s had a couple of outstanding games at the point and, if he can fine tune his ball handling, Quayle could turn out to be exactly what USU needs. He’s already one of the best rebounding guards out there and his shot has shown signs of getting dialed in after a slow start to the season.
The real issue, though, might be Utah State’s inability to put teams away once the Aggies build a decent second-half lead. Instead of slamming the door shut, USU has sent players to the bench with foul trouble as opponents take the battle back to the Aggies.
If Morrill can get post players Tai Wesley, Matt Formisano and Modou Niang to avoid picking up silly fouls, the Aggies might start convincing people they really are one of the best teams in the West.