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CAMPUS SCENE: Spectrum Magic Returns

The 2023-24 USU men's basketball team poses on the court with signs and t-shirts as they celebrate winning the regular season Mountain West conference championship.
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By Timothy R. Olsen

The Utah State University men’s basketball 2023–24 season was one of the most improbable in all of college basketball. Not only were the Aggies breaking in a new coach, but the team didn’t return a single player that scored a point during the previous season and welcomed 13 new players total.

Picked in the preseason to finish ninth in the Mountain West, the Aggies instead finished first with a league-best 14–4 record to secure USU’s first-ever outright regular season championship in the conference. At one point, Utah State even boasted the nation’s longest winning streak, reeling off 15 consecutive victories.

The Aggies clinched the league crown on March 10 in thrilling fashion, as senior guard Darius Brown II buried a contested 3-pointer as the shot clock expired — and only 4 seconds remained in the game — to break a tie with the New Mexico Lobos and propel USU to an 87–85 victory. Following the win, Utah State’s famous 3,600-member student section, the HURD, stormed the court to celebrate the victory.

The Aggies had claimed a share of the regular season Mountain West championship in 2019, as well as back- to-back MW Tournament Championships in 2019 and ’20, but this was their first outright conference regular season title since USU was a member of the Western Athletic Conference, winning four consecutive regular season titles from 2008–11 under legendary coach Stew Morrill.

Though USU fell in the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament, the magical season continued as Utah State earned its first NCAA tournament victory in 23 years with a resounding victory, 88–72, over TCU in the first round before falling to eventual national runner- up, Purdue, in the second round of the tournament.

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