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Aggies' Matt Lopez will be eligible against UVU on Saturday

Published December 12, 2012 5:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As if Utah State's opponents needed to worry about another big guy.

One of the nation's leading rebounding teams will welcome Matt Lopez to the court on Saturday, as the sophomore will be available for his first game in an Aggie uniform.

The 6-11 center brings added depth at the center spot, where Jarred Shaw has locked down most of the minutes early by becoming a double-double player. It creates an interesting scenario between Lopez and Jordan Stone, who are both coming off the bench at that position. Morrill said at the beginning of the season he was likely to have only one of Stone, Lopez or Shaw on the court at any one time.

The only issues in the frontcourt Utah State had were against Santa Clara, when Shaw and Ben Clifford fouled out. But Utah State has managed a double-digit rebounding advantage in every game this season. It seems with the addition of Lopez, a back-to-the-basket guy who transferred from LaSalle, that advantage could continue.

Fox College Sports airing Saturday's basketball game

Going to Boise, but also trying to catch Utah State hoops? A programming change means the Aggies basketball team will be on after the Aggies football team is off.

Fox College Sports (Comcast 264, DirecTV 623/626/608) will air the game live when it begins at 7 p.m., and for those who don't mind tape-delay, Altitude (Comcast 61, DirecTV 681, Dish 410) will air the game at 10 p.m.

The big issue Saturday is the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which begins at 2:30 p.m. In all likelihood, the game will be over by the time USU hoops tips off, but in case of postgame activities — possibly celebration? — fans can still catch the game in entirety late.

End of Bracket Busters

ESPN announced Monday that Bracket Busters, the promotion designed to help midmajors boost their exposure and NCAA profiles, will be discontinued after this year. ESPN's Andy Katz wrote a reflection on it.

The gist: It was often a boost to TV time for programs such as Utah State, but coaches are mixed on whether it actually helped them get to the NCAA tournament or boosted seeding. It also comes late in the year during conference play, which some coaches didn't appreciate much.

The Aggies will compete in a Bracket Buster game in February 22 or 23, but the opponent, date and time won't be announced until January 28.

Bracketology favors Louisiana Tech

As the Bulldogs have started out 8-2, a number of national observers have started looking at Louisiana Tech as the top team in the WAC right now. That includes ESPN's Joe Lunardi, who knocked the Aggies out of his Bracketology predictions in favor of the new WAC darling.

There's some ammo to the affinity for the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech has one of the best offenses in the WAC, and is also relatively sound on defense. They take care of the ball, leading the league in turnover margin. Raheem Appleby is establishing himself as one of the best scorers in the league. Much like the Aggies, they win at home.

But then again, looking at their schedule, Louisiana Tech doesn't exactly have a signature win yet — also like Utah State. Conference play could reveal a lot about these teams and who is for real.

— Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon