Utah State basketball: Aggies want to keep Rams off the glass
Just about every Aggies fan will remember this about Larry Eustachy: His teams could rebound.
What was true then is true now. The former Utah State coach has led hard-rebounding teams wherever he's gone, and now he's at Colorado State. When the Aggies host the Rams on Wednesday, they're preparing for a battle for the boards.
"Any team that is a good rebounding team is going to be physical," junior center Jordan Stone said. "We're going to have to want those rebounds. We'll have to make sure we're boxing out."
Last year, Colorado State went to the NCAA Tournament on the strength of a senior-heavy team that led the country for most of the year in rebounding margin.
This season, the Rams have dipped as they reload. Colorado State is still a respectable No. 40 in the nation, averaging 5.7 more boards per game than their opponents. KenPom.com ranks CSU the 59th best defensive rebounding team by percentage.
The Aggies themselves have excelled in this area, ranking No. 5 in the nation with a plus-11.4 mark. Utah State gathers up 75.3 percent of its defensive rebounds, the fifth-best mark in the country.
The pressure will be on the Aggies to defend their home-court glass to help get back to .500 in the Mountain West.
"We just got to be tough," senior guard Spencer Butterfield said. "I think we all just do what we need to do when it comes to rebounding. We have a good amount of effort there."
Aggies glad to be back home
With another frustrating road trip in the Mountain West behind them, Utah State will get back to games at the Spectrum.
The team reviewed film of the 62-54 loss to Nevada, dismayed but eager for redemption.
"We took some bad shots, and maybe a few that were a little forced," Butterfield said. "It had a domino effect, and we lost our confidence. But we came back today and had a good practice. We focused on not settling, and being more competitive."
In the first home game of the Mountain West schedule, the Aggies ended up knocking off San Jose State convincingly. Utah State hopes for a similar result Wednesday night against Colorado State for its first game with students back for the spring semester.
"It's big for us we really need this," Stone said. "It helps to have an amazing home-court advantage, and the crowd is going to help us."
Coaches take on former teams
On Wednesday, USU coach Stew Morrill and Eustachy will have a common goal: To beat the schools they once worked for.
Eustachy, Morrill's predecessor in Logan, is taking on Utah State for the first time since he coached there. After accumulating a 98-53 record with the Aggies, Eustachy fields a team on the Spectrum floor for the first time since 1998.
Morrill has faced Colorado State only once since joining Utah State, in December 1998, when the Aggies fell 64-61 at home. It was only a few months after he accepted the job in Logan.
Colorado State at Utah State
P Wednesday, 7 p.m.