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Barring a last minute surprise, Utah State fans should expect the basketball schedule to surface next week, say those close to the program.

And barring a last minute surprise, it should turn out to be a challenging non-conference schedule for the Aggies, one that should be a bit more difficult than last season's slate that doomed USU to a 12 seed in the NCAA tournament, despite a dominant regular season.

The Aggies are very close to signing a contract with a team from a major conference. That's why the schedule isn't done as of now.

But here's what we currently know.

Utah State will open the season at home against BYU

The Aggies will travel to Wichita State, returning the game from the Bracketbusters tournament from two years ago

USU will play what will probably be the most competitive Gossner Tournament ever. That will be highlighted by Kent State.

All three of those teams will likely be in the RPI top 100 at the very least next season. And when you add in the major conference team, assuming that doesn't fall through, (the contract isn't done yet), that would make four very challenging teams.

The above teams are definite. It's a very good possibility that a road game at Long Beach State will be on the schedule. And there should be a road game with Weber State as well, a team that will be dangerous and will have Damian Lilliard back from injury.

In other words, this has the potential to be a very good schedule for the Aggies, who will probably play two more non-conference games than usual to compensate for the two games lost with the defection of Boise State to the Mountain West Conference.

Tony Jones