It doesn't matter that Hawaii is struggling, playing its worst basketball of the season.
It may not matter that Utah State looks improved over the past week, especially since the Aggies have started to run their offense exclusively through Preston Medlin.
The Warriors have always been a different team on the island than when they play on the mainland. That's what makes their homecourt blowout loss to Idaho mystifying. Still, USU is taking no chances for Saturday night's matchup. In the eyes of the Aggies, Hawaii is that same team that kicked USU around in Logan when it came to rebounding the ball.
"We have to prepare for them not for what they are, but for what we know they can be," Utah State head coach Stew Morrill said. "They are a very talented and physical group. They pushed us around in Logan, but we still found a way to win."
Utah State is in the midst of one of its few winning streaks of the season. Medlin, who scored 26 points in Thursday night's win over San Jose State, has been sensational over the last two games, and Brockeith Pane is playing much better with the ball in his hands, racking up assists and limiting his turnovers.
Saturday proves to be a true test. The victory at San Jose was against the worst team in the Western Athletic Conference. Hawaii is talented, and historically plays well at home.
So is it possible for the Aggies to gain even more steam heading into next week's conference tournament?
"They are 6-6 in the conference, and they are awfully talented," Morrill said. "They just are bigger and stronger on the island. That's true of almost every road game, but you can double that for Hawaii. It wouldn't hurt for us to win some games on the road."
Utah State at Hawaii
P At the Stan Sheriff Center (Honolulu)
Tipoff • 10 p.m., MST
TV • None. Radio • 97.5 FM
Records • Utah State 16-14, 7-6; Hawaii 15-14, 6-7
Series • Utah State leads 13-4
About the Aggies • Preston Medlin led USU with 26 points against San Jose State. … The Aggies defeated the Warriors in Logan in the previous meeting between the two teams. … USU could be seeded as high as fourth for the upcoming WAC tournament. … The Aggies have won two consecutive games.
About the Warriors • Zane Johnson averages 13 points per game. … This will be senior night for the Warriors. … Hawaii has lost four straight games. … The Warriors are fighting for third place with Idaho