LOGAN, Utah – For the seventh straight week, Utah State’s men’s basketball team maintained its top 25 ranking and is now 17th in the nation in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll released Monday and 23rd in the latest Associated Press Poll. Utah State was ranked 21st in last week’s coaches’ poll and 25th 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. For Utah State, it is the second time this year it has been ranked as high as No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, which is also the highest-ever ranking for a USU team in that poll which expanded from 20 to 25 teams prior to the 1990-91 season. The last time a USU team was ranked higher than No. 17 in any poll was at the end of the 1974-75 season when it was ranked 13th in the final United Press International Coaches’ poll. Its current run of being ranked for seven 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 28-3 on the season, is one of just seven teams in the nation with at least 28 wins and one of just five teams in the nation with three or fewer losses. USU also finished the regular season with a 15-1 WAC record and was one of just six teams across the nation with one or fewer league losses. Utah State’s 28 wins this season are a regular season school record and tied with the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 teams for the second-most in school history. The 2008-09 teams set the school record as it finished with a 30-5 league mark. With its 15-1 WAC record, Utah State becomes just the seventh team in the 49-year history of the Western Athletic Conference to lose one of fewer league games and the first since Utah went 14-0 during the 1998-99 season. Along with being nationally ranked, Utah State continues to be one of the best defensive teams in the country as it currently ranks third in the nation in scoring defense (58.0), fifth in field goal percentage defense (.383), sixth in scoring margin (+14.4) and seventh in rebound margin (+8.2). USU also ranks fourth nationally in winning percentage (.903). Senior forward Tai Wesley is also among the national leaders as he currently ranks 12th in the nation in field goal shooting at 59.4 percent. Utah State (28-3, 15-1) is the top seed in the upcoming WAC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., and will play fourth-seeded Idaho (18-12, 9-7), fifth-seeded Hawai’i (18-11, 8-8) or eighth-seeded San Jose State (15-14, 5-11) in the first of two semifinals on Friday, Mar. 11 at 7 p.m. (MT). USU is 13-4 (.765) all-time in the WAC Tournament and has advanced to the championship game four times in its first five years in the league. -USU-
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