San Diego State looks to get back to back wins in the Mountain West.
What the Aztecs need to beat Fresno State.
San Diego State heads to Fresno State for a big test, but also for a big moment. The Aztecs are coming off a big win against New Mexico and could pull themselves into the top third of the league with a victory, but also it is the first meeting between San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher and first year Bulldog coach Justin Hutson. Hutson spent 10 years at San Diego State as an assistant to Steve Fisher and last season to Dutcher.
The Aztecs have been wildly inconsistent this season, while the Bulldogs have had a surprisingly great start. San Diego State has been great when they share the ball and rebound, but terrible when they do not. Fresno State has played well and when they take care of the ball and turnover their opponent they are impossible to beat. A defensive guru, Hutson has the Bulldogs developing in his image, which means they can be even better than they are now. Getting a victory is important for the Aztecs and important for the Bulldogs to keep up with Nevada.
Take Care of the Ball
Hutson is a defensive guru and knows the Aztec roster well so he will use his knowledge in order to stop the players that he knows so well. You can bet he will focus on turning the Aztecs over in order to create easy baskets and get the home crowd behind them. San Diego State will need to move the ball well, while also taking care of the ball. Limit empty possessions and do not allow Fresno State to turn defense into offense.
Pass the Ball
When the Aztecs are playing beautiful, unselfish basketball they are one of the best teams in the Mountain West. Just look at a box score after a victory, the assist number is in the high twenties or in the thirties. They need to move the ball and find easy baskets against a good Fresno State team. Because when the Aztecs offense is off, the game gets ugly and right now they can not win ugly games.
Stay Out of Foul Trouble
San Diego State has had a penchant for getting in foul trouble recently in games. Players like Jordan Schakel, Matt Mitchell, and Jalen McDaniels have found themselves on the bench with early foul trouble this season. This is not a game where they can afford to do that. The Bulldogs have a number of solid players, beginning with Braxton Huggins and Deshon Taylor, who can create mismatches if the wrong Aztecs are off the floor. Full hands on deck will be needed for this one.
WHO: San Diego State (10-7, 2-2 Mountain West) vs. Fresno State (13-4, 4-1 Mountain West)
WHEN: Tuesday, January 22 — 9:00 PM MT/8:00 PM PT
WHERE: Save Mart Center; Fresno, California (15,596)
SERIES RECORD: San Diego State leads 62-54
ODDS: Fresno State -9