Utah State’s basketball team didn’t play Wednesday night. Instead, the Aggies enjoyed the warm temperatures and scenic views of Honolulu as they prepared for Thursday’s game at Hawaii.
Still, the night was a very good one for the Ags.
Sitting at No. 35 on the RPI, USU was and is very much on the NCAA bubble. If the Aggies don’t win their conference tournament in a few weeks, an RPI of 35 is hardly a sure thing for a school from the WAC.
So Utah State, if that unwanted scenario happened, wouldn’t mind a little help from fellow bubble teams along the way.
Wednesday night, the Aggies got it.
Based on the cbssports.com RPI rankings, here’s what happened to help Utah State.
BYU winning — as much as it pains any Aggie fan to say — was a good thing. The Cougars’ victory makes USU’s strength of schedule look better and, because BYU’s win was against San Diego State (No. 38), the Aztecs move farther away from being an at-large team, theoretically moving Utah State closer to an invite. Even Utah’s win over Air Force helped the Aggies out a little bit.
No. 43 lost to Temple, dropping the 18-9 Fliers closer to the edge.
No. 29 Oklahoma State (19-8) lost to Texas, conceivably clearing a spot for USU to move up in the RPI.
No. 45 Virginia Tech (21-6) was spanked by Boston College (14-13) and will drop farther in the rankings and in the ‘also received votes’ portion of Top 25 polls.
No. 46 William & Mary also lost, putting a serious dent in the Tribe’s at-large hopes.
Also losing was No. 34 Clemson (19-8) to No. 33 Maryland in a game USU was bound to benefit from one way or another.
The Aggies would have liked to see No. 44 UNLV lose to TCU, but that didn’t happen. Likewise, a loss by No. 32 Alabama-Birmingham would have been good for USU, but that also didn’t happen.
No. 18 Xavier narrowly beat Saint Louis and No. 39 Florida State threw more misery at North Carolina, also taking away a little steam from Utah State’s momentum. No. 51 UTEP (but ranked No. 25 in the AP poll) also earned a close win over Southern Miss.
The Aggies, who want their strength of schedule to remain high and have as many wins over Top 100, or better yet Top 50, opponents as possible, got a bad break when Wichita State fell to Bradley.
Still, there was a decent showing for USU even with the team enjoying a short trip to the beach instead of the hardwood.
It will be interesting to see where the night’s action leaves USU in the RPI when the computers run their programs in the morning.
Of course, a loss late Thursday night to the Warriors will make any of the above of no consequence. Utah State, simply put, needs to keep winning.
MORNING UPDATE: The wins and losses around the country didn’t necessarily do Utah State any favors. After the computers did their thing, the Aggies are still No. 35 in the RPI rankings. San Diego State, interestingly, got a bounce up to 36 as result of losing to BYU.