2018 NCAA Tournament: San Diego State vs Houston Preview, Score Prediction
San Diego State opens as the underdog.
San Diego State takes on Houston Thursday Night
San Diego State goes head-to-head against Houston on Thursday night in the opening round of 64 games in the NCAA Tournament. Houston comes off a loss against Cincinnati in the AAC tournament. Yet, San Diego State is the hottest team in the country rattling off 9-straight victories.
The hottest team in the country starts in the midwest, but the goal for these Aztecs: make it back west. The Staples Center awaits them in the Sweet 16, and a comfy venue 100 miles from campus and in the epicenter of thousands of Aztecs alumni in the Southland. The challenge is big for the 11th-seeded Aztecs as they have never won in the tournament as a lower seed. Their victories have come as a 2-seed in 2011 and a 4-seed in 2014. This team has an outside shot of getting to LA next weekend, but a scrappy Houston team stands in their way.
Date: Thursday, March 15
Tip-Off: 4:20PM PT
Venue: Intrust Arena; Wichita, KS.
TV: TBS / March Madness App
Projected San Diego State Lineup
Projected Houston Lineup
Robert Gray Jr.
Corey Davis Jr.
Galen Robinson Jr.
Why San Diego State Will Win
San Diego State is the hottest team in the country right now, and everyone is pointing to the Trey Kell’s return as the big reason. Kell’s performance against New Mexico defined his career as he put the team on his back and willed the Aztecs back into the big dance. He averaged 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists over the three games in Las Vegas. His performance matched Xavier Thames’ 2013-2014 season when Thames willed the Aztecs to a Sweet 16. With Kell hot, and the freshman playing like upperclassmen, the team is peaking at the right time.
Why Houston Will Win
Compared to the Mountain West, the American Athletic is stronger in basketball. Houston’s last loss was to a top-10 Cincinnati team, which has a good track to at least an Elite 8 appearance. Their roster is full of junior college transfers and 2-3 star recruits from Houston, TX. Houston’s leading scorer is Robert Gray Jr. who averages 18.5 points per game. As a team Houston ranks 29th in offensive efficiency according to KenPom. The program has a lot going in its search for its first tournament victory in 30+ years, and they can thank their coach Kelvin Sampson getting their program back on track.
San Diego State 71, Houston 68