San Jose State vs. Nevada: Three Keys to a Spartan Victory
This will be the Spartans toughest test of the season.
San Jose State heads to Reno for their second conference game of the season. If the Spartans plan on pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the season, they will have to play a perfect game. Nevada was surprisingly blown out at New Mexico last Saturday, but do not plan on it being that easy for the Spartans. Nevada will be playing their first game since the loss and you can plan on them being refocused for the task at hand. If the Spartans want to have any chance against the Wolfpack they will have to accomplish these 3 keys:
Limit the turnovers: In the games that San Jose State was a big underdog in but managed to keep it close, examples include at Stanford and at Cal, they did everything right except not turn the ball over. The Spartans will need to limit the turnovers to hopefully 5 or less if they want to win. Giving the Wolfpack extra chances is a sure way to lose this game. This first key will be one the hardest for the Spartans to achieve as they average 16.5 per game and Nevada opponents have averaged 12.9 per game this season. Turnovers are expected with a young team but to win this game the Spartans young squad will need to grow up.
Control the Paint The Spartans will need to shoot at a high percentage down low, limit the layups and dunks, and win the rebound margin. On the season the Spartans are shooting 41% from the field, in an ideal world, they would bump that up to 45% for the night. In addition, Steadman and Barry will need to protect the paint and force Nevada to take mostly jump shots. Lastly, the Spartans will need to win the rebound margin, this might be the easiest one to accomplish as many games this season the Spartans have been able to rebound the ball well. The Spartans currently have a +4.2 rebound margin on the season.
Play the best defense of the season In the loss to New Mexico, Nevada struggled against the zone defense as they shot 33.3% from the field and 18.3% from 3. When San Jose has played zone defense this season they have been successful in forcing teams to shoot it from outside but often times they made those shots. In order to achieve the biggest win in school history San Jose will need to contest every shot while also hoping that Nevada has another off night.