San Diego State: Keys to Becoming 2018 Mountain West Tournament Champions
The Aztecs need one more win to confirm their reservation to the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Anybody who watched San Diego State rout Nevada last night in the semifinals witnessed something special during the first half. They didn’t see the old Aztecs who had become an increasingly regular presence in the NCAA Tournament, with two Sweet Sixteen berths.
They saw something even better.
The Aztecs played near flawlessly in the first half against the #22 Nevada Wolfpack, who has positioned itself (for now) at the Top of Mountain West basketball. This Aztecs team can not only win tonight against the Lobos, but they could potentially make a modest run in the NCAA Tourney, reminding the NCAA community that the Aztecs belong, and Brian Dutcher is for real.
Here are five keys to defeating the Lobos.
1. Hold the Lobos to below 40% shooting.
The Aztecs are 15-0 when holding opponents to below 40% shooting, so San Diego State must play HARD defense, avoid fouling the Lobos, and clean up the boards by outrebounding the Lobos with the length of McDaniels, Pope, Rooks, and company.
2. Shut down Sam Logwood and Joe Furstinger
The Lobos got a combined 32 points from the Senior front court during the Aggies Semifinals game. Shutting down Logwood will be critical, but Furstinger is not to be underestimated either.
3. Defend the perimeter aggressively.
The Lobos have made double-digit 3-pointers in twelve consecutive games to end the regular season, and this can account for 35% + of the Lobos’ points. If the Lobos can’t make threes, they will find it harder to win.
4. Play San Diego State elite defense.
The Aztecs are back to playing their signature defense, and they also defended well offensively during their rout against the Wolfpack last night. If the Aztecs play their defensive game, combined with a more aggressive offense, they’re going to put the Lobos in a panic. . .
5. Make foul shots / do not give foul shots
Simple as it sounds: it’s important for the Aztecs to make their charity stripe shots. They made 26/34 last night, which is great. The Lobos are a good free throw team as well. They went 20/25 against the Aggies in last night’s match, so the Aztecs will have to take care not to foul the Lobos.
With a decisive win, the Aztecs punch their ticket for the NCAA Tourney. With another statement win for the championship and a 9-0 run, they might get additional seeding consideration.