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Ags release hoop schedule

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Four games against three Div. I independents, one game against a Div. II team, and three big mid-major games at Northwestern State, at Santa Clara, and a yet-to-be-announced ESPN BracketBuster game are part of Utah State's 33-game 2006-07 men's basketball schedule.

The Aggies (23-9) play 16 games at home, including games with Utah, Idaho State, Weber State, IP-Fort Wayne, Utah Valley State College and Div. II Cal State Bakersfield. They have road games at NWTS, one of six postseason tournament teams the Aggies will face, and BYU to go along with a three-game tournament in Alaska and a pre-Christmas date at Santa Clara.

"Our schedule takes us from Alaska and Hawaii with lots of stops in between against quality opponents from different parts of the country," Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill said.

For the first time the Gossner Foods Classic will consists of just one game against Bakersfield because of NCAA scheduling changes, but will return to the regualr four-team format next year.

Next year, the tournament will return to its original four-team format.

The Aggies will open with two exhibition games with EA Sports (Nov. 1) and Occidental College (Nov. 6) and then play five of their next six games on the road - three of which will be at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks.

The schedule consists of the usual in-state rivals Utah, BYU, Weber State, but this year the Aggies added home-and-home games with Div. I independent Utah Valley State College.

Utah State, which finished second in the Western Athletic Conference in its inaugural season, opens up league play Jan. 4 at Boise State followed by a Jan. 6 meeting at Fresno State.

Following those two games, the Aggies will play four straight homes games with Utah Valley, La. Tech, Idaho and Boise State.

In other games of note, the Aggies are at Nevada and Hawaii on Jan. 27 and 29, respectively. They close out the season with home games with Nevada and Fresno State Mar. 1 and 3, respectively.

2006-07 Utah State Men's Basketball Schedule

November 1, EA SPORTS; 6, OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE; 10, at Northwestern State; 16-19 at Top of World Classic (Centenary, Alaska-Fairbanks, Drake, Rhode Island, Southeast Missouri State, Troy, and Weber State); 25, WEBER STATE; 29, at South Dakota State.

December 2, IDAHO STATE; 6, UTAH; 9, at Utah Valley State College; 16, at BYU; 21, IPFW; 23, at Santa Clara; 29, CS BAKERSFIELD.

January — 4, at Boise State; 6, at Fresno State; 10, UTAH VALLEY STATE COLLEGE; 13, LA. TECH; 15, IDAHO; 18, BOISE STATE; 20, at San Jose State; 27, at Nevada; 29, at Hawaii.

February 3, SAN JOSE STATE; 5, NEW MEXICO STATE; 10, at Idaho; 14, HAWAII; 17, ESPN BracketBuster; 22, at New Mexico State; 24, at La. Tech.

March1, NEVADA; 3, FRESNO STATE; 6-10; WAC Tournament, Las Cruces; March 15-18 NCAA First and Second Rounds.

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com