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This Week in WAC Men's Basketball - March 11
Courtesy: Louisiana Tech
WAC NOTES

UTAH STATE’S BUTTERFIELD NAMED WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Utah State’s Spencer Butterfield has been named the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of March 4-10.

Butterfield, a junior guard/forward from Loomis, Calif. (Del Oro HS), returned to the lineup after sitting out a game due to a hip injury and averaged a double-double last week to lead the Aggies to a 2-0 record with wins over Texas State and UTSA. In Thursday’s win over the Bobcats, Butterfield pulled down a career-high 20 rebounds-the most rebounds by a USU player since 1997 and the most in the WAC this season, as well as the fifth-most in the NCAA this season. He added 10 points for his seventh double-double of the season. He was just three assists shy of a triple-double with seven. In Saturday’s win over the Roadrunners, Butterfield netted 14 points with three rebounds, five assists and a steal.

On the week, Butterfield averaged 12.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. He shot 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from the field.

Other nominees included: Denver junior forward Chris Udofia averaged 19.5 points in a pair of wins … Idaho senior center Kyle Barone scored 27 points with 12 rebounds in a win over Seattle U … New Mexico State sophomore guard Daniel Mullings averaged 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in to wins at home … Texas State junior forward Joel Wright averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds as the Bobcats went 1-1 … UTSA’s Michael Hale III scored 21 points at Utah State.

WAC POSTSEASON HONORS HANDED OUT

The WAC men’s basketball postseason award winners as selected by the league’s 10 head coaches were announced on Sunday. Idaho senior Kyle Barone was voted the WAC’s Player of the Year.  New Mexico State’s Bhullar becomes the first Aggie in school history to earn the WAC’s Freshman of the Year award. Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White earned his first Don Haskins Coach of the Year honor by leading the Bulldogs to a share of the school’s first-ever regular season WAC title.

Player of the Year: Kyle Barone, Sr., C, Idaho
Freshman of the Year: Sim Bhullar, Fr., C, New Mexico State
Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Michael White, Louisiana Tech

First Team All-WAC
Chris Udofia, Jr., F, Denver
Kyle Barone, Sr., C, Idaho
Raheem Appleby, So., G, Louisiana Tech
Kenneth Smith, So., G, Louisiana Tech
Bandja Sy, Sr., F, New Mexico State

Second Team All-WAC
Chase Hallam, Sr., G, Denver
Daniel Mullings, So., G, New Mexico State
Joel Wright, Jr., F, Texas State
Spencer Butterfield, Jr., G/F, Utah State
Jarred Shaw, Jr., F/C, Utah State

Third Team All-WAC
Brett Olson, So., G, Denver
Royce O’Neale, So., F, Denver
Sim Bhullar, Fr., C, New Mexico State
Kevin Butler, Sr., F, UT Arlington
Michael Hale III, Sr., G, UTSA

All-Defensive Team
Chase Hallam, Sr., G, Denver
Chris Udofia, Jr., F, Denver
Michale Kyser, So., F, Louisiana Tech
Kenneth Smith, So., G, Louisiana Tech
Daniel Mullings, So., G, New Mexico State

All-Newcomer Team
Alex Hamilton, Fr., G, Louisiana Tech
Sim Bhullar, Fr., C, New Mexico State
Joel Wright, Jr., F, Texas State
Spencer Butterfield, Jr., G/F, Utah State
Jarred Shaw, Jr., F/C, Utah State

DENVER AND LOUISIANA TECH SHARE WAC REGULAR SEASON CROWN

Denver and Louisiana Tech wrapped up regular season play with identical 16-2 WAC records to each claim a share of the 2013 WAC regular season title. The title is the first-ever WAC title for both the Pioneers and the Bulldogs. LA Tech was awarded the No. 1 seed at the WAC tournament because it won the tie-breaker, which was based on RPI.

WAC RPI
After beginning the season with a conference RPI in the mid-20s, the WAC’s league RPI has risen to No. 12, up from No. 13 last week. The WAC is sandwiched between No. 11 Conference USA and No. 13 Horizon. Louisiana Tech holds the league’s top individual RPI at No. 46. Denver is No. 57 while New Mexico State rounds out the top three at No. 59.

WAC TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES

Denver Pioneers (21-8, 16-2 WAC)
The Pioneers head to the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas this week as the No. 2 seed and will play their first game in the Quarterfinals on Thursday, facing the winner of a First Round game between No. 7 Texas State and No. 10 Seattle ...  junior Chris Udofia was named to the All-WAC First Team, senior Chase Hallam made the Second Team, and sophomores Brett Olson and Royce O’Neale both made the Third Team ... Udofia and Hallam also were selected to the WAC All-Defensive Team ... Denver’s 10-game winning streak is the longest against Division I opponents in team history and tied for the fourth longest overall ... it’s also the sixth-longest current winning streak in the nation ... since New Year’s Eve, the Pioneers have gone 17-1 (.944), the third-best winning percentage in the nation, behind only Gonzaga (18-1) and Memphis (18-1).

Idaho Vandals (12-17, 7-11 WAC)
Idaho went a perfect 1-0 to finish regular season play ... the Vandals celebrated senior night in their final game as Kyle Barone and Mike McChristian powered the Vandals past Seattle University, 76-72, before a spirited crowd at the Cowan Spectrum ... after a disjointed first half, the Vandals came out in the second with a sense of defensive purpose that fueled a shooting display by McChristian and sophomore Connor Hill rarely seen ... the barrage, ignited by Hill, began with the Vandals trailing 34-31 with 17:25 to go ... by the time it ended, Hill had four 3s, McChristian had six and the Vandals were leading 62-50 ... Barone had his 16th double-double of the season with 27 points and 12 rebounds ... McChristian’s effort not only included a career-best 26 points but he had seven assists and four steals without a single turnover during his 37 minutes of play.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (26-5, 16-2 WAC)

Louisiana Tech went 0-2 in its final regular season games ... Tech dropped a 78-60 decision at New Mexico State before falling 78-54 at Denver ... despite dropping its final two games, LA Tech claimed a share of its first-ever WAC regular season title ... the Bulldogs also earned the WAC’s No. 1 seed at this week’s WAC Tournament due to its better RPI over Denver ... LA Tech’s nation-best 18-game win streak came to an end at New Mexico State ... LA Tech was led in scoring by Appleby who had a team-high 13 points and Alex Hamilton who contributed 11 points off the bench at NM State ... at Denver, Appleby, Cordarius Johnson and Hamilton each had nine points to lead the team ... Louisiana Tech will now take on the winner of San Jose State and UTSA on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT

New Mexico State Aggies (21-10, 14-4 WAC)
NM State snapped Louisiana Tech’s 18-game winning streak, which was the nation’s longest, with a 78-60 victory in Las Cruces ... the Aggies also handed the Bulldogs their first loss in the WAC ... Daniel Mullings scored a game-high 23 points on 50 percent shooting from the field ... with the win, the Aggies recorded their 26th 20-win season in school history along with the most wins in conference play (13) since joining the WAC ... ead coach Marvin Menzies now has four 20-win seasons in his six years at NM State ... Sy hit a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining in regulation to lead NM State to 69-66 win over UT Arlington on senior night ... the Aggies finished the season with a 15-1 home record ... Sy finished his last regular season game in the Pan American Center with a game-high 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting ... K.C Ross-Miller added 12 points, and Mullings supplied 11.

San Jose State Spartans (9-19, 3-14 WAC)
San Jose State enters the 2013 WAC Basketball Tournament as the eighth seed and will play ninth-seed UTSA Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m., at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas ... the two teams will face each other for the first time since December 31 ... the teams were supposed to play last Thursday night, March 7, but the game was called after water collected on the floor as heavy rainstorms were moving through the San Jose area ... the winner of Tuesday night’s game will play top-seed Louisiana Tech on Thursday, March 14, at 6 p.m. ... San Jose State enters Saturday’s game with a 9-19 overall record and a 3-14 conference mark ... the team fell to Texas State, 90-67, at The Event Center this past Saturday evening ... Chris Cunningham led the team with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Seattle U Redhawks (8-21, 3-15 WAC)
Seattle University ended the regular season with two more close losses, starting Wednesday with a 75-74 overtime loss to CSU Bakersfield in the second annual ShoWare College Showcase in Kent, Wash ... Chad Rasmussen led Seattle U with 13 points, including a three-pointer late in overtime that gave the Redhawks the lead before CSUB hit the game-winning shot with two seconds remaining ... Saturday, the Redhawks took the early lead, but a barrage of three-pointers helped Idaho pull ahead for a 76-72 victory ... the loss put the Redhawks in the 10th position for the WAC Tournament, leading to a first-round matchup against Texas State Tuesday ... Seattle U lost to the Bobcats by just three points in Seattle and by only two points in San Marcos ... this will be the first time ever Seattle U competes in a Division I conference tournament.

UT Arlington Mavericks (17-12, 11-7 WAC)

UT Arlington went 0-2 on the road to wrap up regular season play ... the team dropped an 84-55 decision at Denver before falling 69-66 at New Mexico State ... in the loss at Denver, Karol Gruszecki paced the Mavericks with 16 points and Drew Charles added 12 ... at New Mexico State, Kevin Butler scored 14 to lead the Mavericks before fouling out in the last minute. Karol Gruszecki added 11, including a go-head 3-pointer that gave UTA its first lead (64-63) of the game with three minutes left ... UT Arlington takes the No. 4 seed into the WAC Tournament this week and will play fifth-ranked Utah State ... the game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. PT on Thursday.

UTSA Roadrunners (8-21, 3-14 WAC)

UTSA finished in a tie with San Jose State for eighth place in the WAC with a 3-14 record … the Roadrunners will face the Spartans in the 8/9 game in the first round of the WAC Tournament  … San Jose State won the only previous meeting this season, 80-67, on New Year’s Eve in San Antonio …UTSA is participating in a conference tournament for the sixth straight season … the Roadrunners won the 2011 Southland Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA First Four, where they beat Alabama State, 70-61, for the first NCAA postseason victory in any sport in school history … UTSA has captured four conference tournament titles in its previous 31 years of basketball (1988 TAAC; 1999, 2004, 2011 SLC) … senior guard Kannon Burrage is in a tight race for the WAC scoring crown, as he is tied for second with Kyle Barone of Idaho at 17.1 points per game, and the pair is just behind Texas State’s Joel Wright (17.2).

Texas State Bobcats (10-21, 5-13 WAC)
Texas State was projected to finish 10th in the league, but pulled out a seventh-place showing in the WAC ... the Bobcats shot a season-high .647 from the field and behind the arc in their win at San Jose State this past week ... the Bobcats went 1-1 last week ... the team dropped a 77-61 decision at Utah State before defeating San Jose State 90-67 on Saturday ... Joel Wright registered his fifth double-double of the season to help Texas State to the win at San Jose State ... Wright netted 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a team high in both categories ... he also went 6-of-7 at the free throw line ... in the loss at Utah State, Wright scored eight points and had seven rebounds ... his 21-point performance was his ninth 20-point game of the season ... Texas State opens WAC Tournament play on Tuesday against Seattle U.

Utah State Aggies (21-9, 11-7 WAC)
Utah State wrapped up regular season play with a pair of wins at home last week ... the Aggies defeated Texas State 77-61 before downing UTSA 71-51 ... Utah State had four players score in double-figures led by junior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield’s 10 points and 20 rebounds in its win against Texas State on Thursday as USU recorded its 14th straight 20-win season ... Utah State is now 20-9 on the season with the win ... USU is one of just six teams nationally to win 20-plus games in each of the last 14 seasons along with Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas and Syracuse. In all, it is the 28th time in school history USU has won 20 games in a single season ... in its win over UTSA, sophomore forward Ben Clifford led four Aggies in double-figures with a career-high 21 points ... Utah State opens WAC Tournament play on Thursday against No. 4 UT Arlington.
Basketball-M
WAC
Overall
Texas-Pan American
0-0
3-0
Utah Valley
0-0
2-1
Chicago State
0-0
2-2
Grand Canyon
0-0
2-2
UMKC
0-0
2-3
New Mexico State
0-0
1-3
Seattle U
0-0
1-3
Bakersfield
0-0
1-4
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CSU Bakersfield -
Chicago State -
Grand Canyon -
UMKC -
New Mexico State -
Seattle U -
UTPA -
Utah Valley -