Utah State earns No. 10 seed, will play Missouri in NCAA Tournament

Utah State Aggies head coach Ryan Odom talks with forward Dan Akin (30), guard Steven Ashworth (3) and guard Sean Bairstow (2) during an Aztec free throw as Utah State and San Diego State play in the Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament Championship at UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 11, 2023. San Diego State won 62-57.
Utah State Aggies head coach Ryan Odom talks with forward Dan Akin (30), guard Steven Ashworth (3) and guard Sean Bairstow (2) during an Aztec free throw as Utah State and San Diego State play in the Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament Championship at UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 11, 2023. San Diego State won 62-57. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Utah State has punched its ticket.

The Aggies (26-8, 13-5 Mountain West) drew a No. 10 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and will play No. 7-seeded Missouri (24-9, 11-7 SEC) in the first round at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. on Thursday at 11:40 a.m. MDT.

Should the Aggies advance, they would play the winner of second-seeded Arizona and 15th-seeded Princeton.

It’s the third NCAA Tournament appearance for Utah State since 2019. The Aggies will try to win their first March Madness game since 2001, when Utah State beat No. 5 seed Ohio State.

Missouri and Utah State both have a top-30 offense, with the Tigers averaging 80.1 points per game, while Utah State is averaging 79.1 points per game. Guard Kobe Brown leads Missouri with 15.8 points per game.

The Aggies made it to the Mountain West Conference championship game, losing 65-57 to No. 20 San Diego State.

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Despite not getting the auto-bid, Utah State’s NET rating of 19 assured that it would punch its ticket to the Big Dance, especially after beating tournament-bound Boise State twice, including in the MWC semifinals.

Led by guard Steven Ashworth, who is scoring 16.3 points per game, the Aggies are back in the NCAA Tournament for 23rd time in school history. This year will be the first appearance under second-year Aggie head coach Ryan Odom.