Utah State Aggies forward Taylor Funk (23) blows a three-point kiss toward his teammates after draining a three point shot as Utah State and New Mexico play in the Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament at UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

LAS VEGAS — After bubble-sitting Utah State pounded his team 91-76 Thursday night in a Mountain West Conference quarterfinal game, New Mexico coach Richard Pitino said he would be “blown away” if the Aggies don’t get invited to play in the NCAA Tournament if they don’t win the automatic bid awarded to the conference champion.

Not many among the huge and boisterous crowd at Thomas & Mack Center who witnessed Utah State hit 12 of 24 3-pointers would beg to differ.

“It is what March Madness is all about, right? The big plays. … That is what it is all about. It is just a special time of year, and we are all blessed to be able to be a part of it.” — Utah State coach Ryan Odom.

“They shot the lights out, man,” said New Mexico’s Javonte Johnson.

The Aggies played like they weren’t interested in putting their postseason plans in the hands of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, leading wire-to-wire against a New Mexico team (22-11) that at one time was the only undefeated squad remaining in the country.

“It was a big-time college basketball game,” Utah State coach Ryan Odom said. “… We knew it was going to be a battle. No secret there.”

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Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


Utah State basketball: Aggies make case for NCAA at-large bid

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