Is this a road week or a home week? The answer is 'yes'
By Wade Denniston
The correct answer is both as USU hosts the University of Nevada Thursday night at 7 in the Spectrum, then travels to California for a game on Saturday at Long Beach State University.
The Aggies (8-0 Big West Conference, 17-5 overall) have already had to deal with a four-game road trip, and are hoping this quip in the schedule will be just as successful as winning four in a row away from Logan.
"That's the oddest thing I've ever seen in my life," said Utah State head coach Stew Morrill about the split road trip. "We have four road games, then we have split road trips. Now are you on the road, or are you not on the road? I can't figure it out.
"I guess we'll just deal with it like we tried to deal with the four road games. It would be nice if we could deal with that well."
USU will have back-to-back split weeks as it travels to Nevada for a rematch with the Wolf Pack on Feb. 17, before returning home on Feb. 19 for a game with the University of the Pacific.
While most of the talk about this week's games for Utah State is centered around a possible battle of the unbeatens with LBSU, which leads the Western Division of the Big West with an 8-0 record (16-3 overall), the Aggies must first get by the Wolf Pack (3-5, 5-14).
Morrill admitted he doesn't like the fact people are looking past the Nevada game.
"We discussed it yesterday . . . it concerns me," Morrill said. "Some of the things I mentioned to our players is we've done a good job of just focusing on the next opponent."
Despite Nevada's not-so-stellar record, the Wolf Pack are playing a lot better than their record shows.
"Nevada has really improved since preseason," Morrill said. "Yes, they come into the game 3-5, but you give them three more basketsone in each of the three gamesand they're 6-2.
"Ask our players, you know now if they are 6-2, maybe you think, Oh jeez, they are in second place, they are 6-2, we better get ready to go.' Now, they're the same team, they've just made three less baskets.
"So, that is something I've asked them, to look at this team as coming in as a 6-2 team, rather than a 3-5 team. I hope we are smart enough to do that."
And skill isn't something the Wolf Pack is lacking.
"They've got a very talented team," said Aggie sophomore forward Brennan Ray. "We're going to have our hands full as usual."
One of those players Utah State will need to key on is freshman guard Terrance Green, who leads the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game, while pulling down an average of 4.7 rebounds each contest, as well as handing out 1.2 assists.
"He's really good," Morrill said. "I can't figure out why the PAC-10 let him get away. If that kid is in your state, you either did a really poor job of evaluation, or something because that kid can play in the PAC-10 without question.
"On film, he looks like a guy that somewhere down the road might make money."
What is so special about Green, who put up a career-high 33 points in Nevada's 72-66 loss to NMSU last Thursday?
"He shoots it in, he goes by you on the dribble, he's a very good passer," Morrill said. "He's just really hard to figure out how you're going to guard.
"Those guys who can not only shoot it, but then they can have such quickness and go by you...they present all kinds of problems."
This will be the 27th meeting between Nevada and USU, with the Aggies leading the all-time series 19-7.
Last year, the Aggies and Wolf Pack split the season series, with each team winning on their home court. USU has beaten Nevada the last six times in Logan, and is 11-1 vs. the Wolf Pack at the Spectrum.
The last time Nevada won in Logan was on March 6, 1993, 97-87.