Utah St. Aggies vs. Wyoming Cowboys Pick & Prediction JANUARY 9th 2024

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“Great” isn’t just the first name of Utah State’s leading scorer.

It’s an applicable description of how the Aggies have played during a 13-game winning streak that has propelled them into the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week at No. 20.

They’ll play their first game as a ranked team Tuesday night in Logan, Utah, when they host Wyoming in a Mountain West Conference matchup.

Utah State (14-1, 2-0) is coming off a 77-72 home win over then-No. 13 Colorado State Saturday night, when Great Osobor collected 20 points and 14 rebounds. Osobor hit 8 of 8 at the foul line, part of an effort that saw the Aggies outscore the Rams by 16 points there.

Fans stormed the floor at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum after time expired to celebrate.

“Spectrum magic is real and tonight, we really did see it,” said Josh Uduje, who contributed a key three-point play during a late 10-0 run that put Utah State ahead for good. “The crowd was amazing.”

It was the first win against a ranked team for the Aggies since they upset No. 5 San Diego State four years ago in the finals of the Mountain West Tournament — five days before the NCAA canceled its basketball championship due to COVID-19.

Osobor, who transferred from Montana State when coach Danny Sprinkle was hired to replace Ryan Odum, is averaging a team-high 18.5 ppg and 9.5 rebounds. Ian Martinez scores 12.8 ppg, while Mason Falslev nets 12 ppg and Darius Brown chips in 10.5 ppg, plus 7.3 assists.

Sprinkle’s first team at Utah State is efficient on both ends of the floor. They rank in the top 60 of KenPom.com in both offensive and defensive efficiency, as well as top 100 in percentage of field goals that are assisted. The only loss was on Nov. 10 in overtime at Bradley.

As for the Cowboys (8-7, 1-1), they’re coming off a 77-60 defeat Saturday night at New Mexico. A slow start buried them as they trailed 39-22 at halftime. They committed 23 turnovers, leading to 28 points for the Lobos.

Wyoming coach Jeff Linder said his team can’t afford to struggle out of the gate in league play.

“To have the game down to seven points in the second half when you turn the ball over the way we did and make it a game is something to build off,” Linder said, “but we aren’t talented enough to spot the good teams in our league points.”

Linder’s logic suggests there’s several teams that fit that bill. The Mountain West has three teams ranked in the Top 25 and two others — Nevada and New Mexico — who can make arguments for getting into the poll.

Tulsa transfer Sam Griffin leads the Cowboys’ attack at 18.6 ppg, while Akuel Kot chips in 15 ppg. Wyoming’s strength is perimeter shooting as it’s 15th in Division I from the 3-point line, sinking 38.8 percent.

The Cowboys own a 52-35 lead in the all-time series, although the Aggies have won 23 of 41 meetings in Logan.

–Field Level Media

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