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San Diego State's Josh Davis, left and JJ O'Brien go after a loose ball with Utah State's Kyle Davis during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
USU basketball: Postseason doubtful for Aggies, Morrill says
WAC » Morrill says there’s little desire to play in lesser tourney, if invitation comes at all to Utah State.
First Published Mar 13 2014 05:08 pm • Last Updated Mar 13 2014 10:20 pm

Las Vegas • It may be the final image of the season: Utah State shuffling quietly off the floor after a humbling 34-point loss.

If so, it would be the end to numerous legacies.

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Coach Stew Morrill cast doubt on the Aggies’ prospects for the postseason after the 73-39 defeat to San Diego State on Thursday afternoon. First he said it would be "unlikely" that his team would participate in a postseason tournament due to lack of administration and fan interest, then seemed to question if the Aggies could even earn an invitation to a lower-level tournament such as the College Basketball Invitational or College Insider Tournament.

"We’re probably assuming a lot to even think we’d be asked," he said. "I mean, we finished eighth [in the Mountain West]. We just got beat by 35. I mean, who the hell are we to think we might go to the postseason?"

Although Morrill did not go as far as last season when he acknowledged the team would "shut down" to take care of injuries, he seemed to begin closing the door on an 18-14 year that fell far short of hopes and expectations.

If the Aggies indeed are done, it would end the program’s 14-season streak of 21 wins or more, a hallmark of Morrill’s tenure in Logan. It would be the second time in as many years that the Aggies would not participate in the postseason, which hasn’t happened since 1997.

With five seniors this season — and four of them starters — the goal was aimed much higher. The Aggies had hoped to make the Big Dance for the first time since 2011. Falling to the CIT, the only tournament Morrill speculated would ask the Aggies to join the field, would serve as a disappointment to a variety of groups.

"I think when you look at our fan base, they’re not overly excited," he said. "We didn’t get a great response last time [in 2012]. Our administration is not overly excited about it. Our players aren’t overly excited about it right now. I would say the CIT is probably unlikely. Doesn’t make a lot of sense given those three circumstances."

Still, for Preston Medlin, Jarred Shaw, Spencer Butterfield, TeNale Roland and Sean Harris, it was tough to walk off thinking it was their last game. Medlin, for one, said he’d be willing to try to end on a different note.

"I think it’s really up to the coaches and administration, and the players don’t have too much of a say in it," he said. "If they think it’s a good idea, if they think it’s good for the program, I’m sure we’ll do it."


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kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon



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