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Is Utah State an NCAA Tournament team? Aggies in ESPN’s latest bracket, get vote in AP Top 25 poll

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Utah State center Neemias Queta (23) blocks the shot of San Diego State forward Joshua Tomaic during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Logan, Utah.

Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool

After racking up their ninth and 10th straight wins last week, the Utah State Aggies are starting to get a bit of national attention.

The Aggies on Monday appear in ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s NCAA Tournament projections, coming in as the fourth team on Lunardi’s “Last Four In” along with BYU, North Carolina and Stanford.

Utah State beat the San Diego State Aztecs twice last week to garner the recognition from Lunardi. As a result of those games, however, the Aztecs got bumped from Lunardi’s field and are now the top squad on his “First Four Out” list, joining Richmond, Maryland and Marquette.

There are now two teams from the Mountain West Conference in Lunardi’s projections, as the Boise State Broncos are in addition to the Aggies (Lunardi has not released an updated actual bracket of the changes, just a list of team changes).

As far as the all-important NET rankings are concerned, Utah State is No. 45 in the country after Sunday’s games, which actually was a drop of two spots from the previous update. Boise State is all the way up at No. 16, while San Diego State is still a couple of spots ahead of the Aggies at No. 43.

Utah State’s next opponent, the Colorado State Rams, are No. 53.

Elsewhere Monday, in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, the Aggies received one vote, effectively ranking them in a tie for 40th in the country with the Purdue Boilermakers, who also received one vote.

The Broncos received 15 votes after winning their 11th and 12th straight games last week (they beat the Wyoming Cowboys twice on the road), effectively ranking them 34th in the country.

The top three in the poll remained the same as last week, with Gonzaga, Baylor and Villanova getting the nods, while Iowa and Texas swapped spots to round out the top five.

There are now two Pac-12 teams in the top 25, as Oregon is No. 21 and UCLA is No. 24. Colorado and USC are receiving votes (Colorado is essentially ranked No. 27 and USC is essentially ranked No. 30).