Utah State men’s basketball ranked 21st in latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, 25th in latest Associated Press poll

LOGAN, Utah – For the sixth straight week, Utah State’s men’s basketball team maintained its top 25 ranking and is now 21st in the nation in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll released Monday and 25th in the latest Associated Press Poll. Utah State was ranked 23rd in last week’s coaches’ poll and 26th in last week’s AP poll. Overall, it is the second time in the last three years and the third time in the past eight seasons that Utah State has been nationally ranked. Its current run of being ranked for six consecutive weeks in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll is a school record, bettering the 2003-04 team that was ranked for five straight weeks. Prior to this season, the last time a USU team was ranked for more than six straight weeks was during the 1970-71 season when that team was ranked in the Associated Press poll for 11 straight weeks. Utah State, who is 26-3 on the season, is one of just eight teams in the nation with at least 26 wins, and only Belmont (27-4), BYU (27-2), Kansas (27-2), Ohio State (27-2) and San Diego State (27-2) have more wins. Furthermore, USU is one of just six teams in the nation with three or fewer losses. Utah State’s 26-3 record is tied with the 2008-09 team for the best start to a season in school history after 29 games, while its 26 wins rank as the fifth-most at USU. Last week, Utah State won its fourth-straight regular season Western Athletic Conference title, which is a school record, and its third outright league championship in a row. During the last four years, USU is 53-9 (.855) in WAC play. Along with being nationally ranked, Utah State continues to be one of the best defensive teams in the country as it currently ranks sixth in the nation in rebound margin (+8.7), seventh in field goal percentage defense (.388), and eighth in scoring defense (59.1). USU also ranks fifth nationally in winning percentage (.897) and ninth in scoring margin (+13.8). Senior forward Tai Wesley is also among the national leaders as he currently ranks 10th in the nation in field goal shooting at 59.6 percent. Utah State (26-3, 13-1) returns to action on Wednesday, Mar. 2 when it plays at New Mexico State (14-15, 8-6) at 9 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. USU has already secured the top seed in next week’s WAC Tournament and will play its first game on Friday, March 11 at 7 p.m. (MT) in the first of two semifinals. -USU-

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