Jan 21, 2013
Enter "The Ewing Theory"
Those two join Danny Berger and Sean Harris among the Aggies missing significant time this season due to injury. If you really want to turn back time, you can validly throw Brady Jardine's name into that mix as well. However you view it, this is officially the season of the injury bug.
Eight players remain, only two of them with playing experience at USU prior to this season. But each of them had been anticipated to contribute in big ways, and now the pressure is officially on!
Enter, The Ewing Theory!
For those who aren't familiar with The Ewing Theory, it's a study that indicated that the New York Knicks almost always performed better as a team when superstar center Patrick Ewing was either out with injury or benched with foul trouble. The thought is that when a team has a clear-cut superstar like that, the supporting cast will get caught up taking their foot off the gas while waiting for the go-to guy to make a play.
Remove the superstar from the equation, and the supporting cast as a whole rallies together.
This is the challenge at hand for the remaining eight. Collectively step their game up and come together with a unified sense of pride to make something special happen.
Such things aren't without precedent by any means. Look at some of the examples in the article linked above. The New England Patriots became a dynasty once Drew Bledsoe went down with injury. The Seattle Mariners finished in 3rd place in 1999, dealt Ken Griffey Jr. the following offseason, and advanced to the American League Championship Series in 2000. Then after losing another superstar in Alex Rodriguez after that season, the team won an AL record 116 games in 2001.
When it comes to Utah State, the closest thing we've seen is the improvement made from the 2008 to 2009 seasons. Many considered the 2008 team to be soft, and even somewhat a group of underachievers. Going into 2009, things looked plenty questionable with the losses of stud 6th man Steve Ducharme, assist machine Kris Clark, and USU all-time leading scorer Jaycee Carroll.
The result was everyone playing like much more of a team. The returning talent was mostly young, and only two of them had been major contributors in 2008, but the result was a team that was practically unbeatable from the start.
TIME TO SHOW WHAT THEY'RE MADE OF
If the second half of the Denver game is any indication, the remaining eight can still compete. Will this team better without Medlin and Reed? No... They won't. But can this still get really interesting for here on out? Of course it will!
Up until this point, continual sloppy play had given this team an underachiever label. Now we're the underdogs in every game, and everyone loves an underdog. On top of that, we're getting an in-depth look at just what everyone on this roster is made of!
The news is terrible for Medlin and especially Reed, whose college career is almost certainly over. But in Medlin's case, if he's able to return at all this season, he'll be returning to a team a whole lot more battle-tested than he left it. And looking even further into the future, it sets the team up to be more primed for handling any pressure that next season throws their way.
We've already seen Utah State teams dominate the WAC in the past... Maybe the way we're going to leave it is as a Cinderella story!