The Utah State men's basketball enters the Mountain West this season fully aware of the challenge ahead. Last March, five Mountain West teams made the NCAA Tournament.
There's no easing into the league: The Aggies face all of them twice in their inaugural conference schedule and will see them all before the end of January.
The Mountain West announced its men's basketball schedule on Friday evening, and Utah State will dive right into the thick of competition. The Aggies have home-and-home series scheduled with New Mexico, UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State and Boise State each of the teams that played in the March Madness last year.
The Aggies also play two games against Nevada, San Jose State and Wyoming. The team will play Air Force one time, on Jan. 1 in Colorado Springs to open conference play. Fresno State will visit the Aggies at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Utah State's Mountain West home opener will be on Jan. 4 against San Jose. The roughest stretch of schedule is not long after: Starting Jan. 15, the Aggies play Colorado State, at Boise State, at UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico in rapid succession.
The conference season wraps up with a game against Wyoming on March 5 at the Spectrum. The Mountain West will play its conference tournament in Las Vegas from March 12 through 15.
The Utah State women's basketball team also released its schedule Friday, which features seven teams that played in the NCAA Tournament, the WNIT or the WBI. In the Mountain West, the team will play the same opponents as the men, only playing away when the men's team is at home and visa versa. Nonconference highlights include a home date with Utah and road games against Nebraska and BYU.