Defending conference champion Utah State found out its schedule for the Mountain West portion of the 2019-20 men’s basketball campaign on Thursday.

The Aggies will begin defense of their title on Dec. 4, at San Jose State. This will be the fourth time since joining the MW in 2013 that USU will open conference play against the Spartans. The Aggies are 3-0 in those previous season openers against SJSU.

The 18-game league schedule will feature home and road contests against every school in the conference with the exception of Nevada and New Mexico. The Aggies will host the Wolf Pack, who they tied with for the regular season title last season, on Jan. 11, in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. USU concludes the season at New Mexico on Feb. 29.

“It’s always an exciting day to see the Mountain West Conference schedule released,” said Aggie head men’s basketball coach Craig Smith in a press release. “It will be a little different this year with two conference games being played early December, as our conference tournament is a week earlier than the traditional weekend. We are very proud to be a member of the Mountain West. There is no question that our conference is a conference on the rise.”

The entire schedule is still being worked on by the USU coaching staff and will be released later this summer.

USU will host Fresno State in its MW home opener on Dec. 7. The conference slate picks back up in January when the Aggies ring in the New Year in Las Vegas, facing UNLV on Jan. 1, 2020, before returning home to host San Diego State on Jan. 4.

USU returns to the road on Jan. 8, facing Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before hosting the Wolf Pack on Jan. 11. The Aggies then have their first bye of the season on Jan. 15, before traveling to Boise State on Jan. 18.

Air Force makes the return trip to Logan on Jan. 22, followed by another home game for the Aggies, when Colorado State visits Logan on Jan. 25.

USU then begins a two-game road swing at Wyoming on Jan. 29, followed by a contest at San Diego State to open the month of February on the first.

Back-to-back home games follow for the Aggies, with UNLV and Boise State traveling to the Spectrum on Feb. 5 and Feb. 8, respectively. USU will face Fresno State the day after Valentine’s Day in California, playing the Bulldogs on Feb. 15.

The Aggies then play two of their final three games at home, hosting Wyoming on Feb. 19, before their final bye on Feb. 22. USU will host San Jose State on Senior Day for its regular season home finale on Feb. 26. The Aggies will then close the regular season with their aforementioned game at UNM.

The conference schedule will lead up to the Mountain West Championships inside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas from March 4-7.

USU will be looking to repeat as both regular season and tournament champions as it captured both titles during the 2018-19 season. The Aggies will be led by reigning MW Player of the Year Sam Merrill and MW Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year Neemias Queta. USU also returns two other starters in Abel Porter and Brock Miller, and a pair of key contributors in Diogo Brito and Justin Bean.

{div}sharrison@hjnews.com Twitter: hjsports{/div}

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.