San Jose State vs. Utah State: Series Preview, TV Schedule, Odds, More

San Jose State vs. Utah State: Series Preview, TV Schedule, Odds, More

Mountain West Basketball

San Jose State vs. Utah State: Series Preview, TV Schedule, Odds, More

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San Jose State vs. Utah State: Series Preview, TV Schedule, Odds, More


The struggling Spartans open up MW conference play against an Aggies team looking to rebound.


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Folks, here we have it! The San Jose State Spartans start Mountain West play against Utah St in Logan. 

GAME ONE: SJSU @ UTAH STATE 12/21

TIME: 6:00 PST

TV: NONE

STREAM: Mountain West Network

RADIO: TuneIn

ODDS: KenPom has USU favored by 17

GAME TWO: SJSU @ UTAH STATE

DATE: 12/23

TIME: 6:00 PST

TV: NONE

STREAM: Mountain West Network

RADIO: TuneIn

ODDS: KenPom has USU favored by 17

The start to the 2020-21 campaign for Coach Jean Prioleau’s team has not gone as hoped for entering conference play with a record of 1-2 with the lone win being over Fresno Pacific. SJSU has been a total mess on defense this season, ranking 301st in KenPom, and have allowed 75+ points in all three games.

San Jose State has also struggled scoring with an effective field goal percentage of 41% as a team. Richard Washington has become a breakout star in the Mountain West, posting a gaudy stat line of 26.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG while shooting 36% from three.

The Spartans need this kind of production from Washington in this two-game set. The players they’ll need to get big production from is Hugo Clarkin and Ralph Agee, the two bigs that will defend the illustrious Aggies duo, Justin Bean & Neemias Queta. Last season’s leading scorer Seneca Knight has taken a big nosedive in-terms of production, going from 17.1 PPG to 13 PPG. Knight isn’t much of a shooter but is a tremendous slashing guard that they need to get going.

The Aggies have struggled to replace departing guards from last year; Sam Merrill, Abel Porter, as ball-handling guards and shooters. Marco Anthony and Rollie Worster have been able to score but aren’t a playmaker the way Merril was, and a facilitator the way Porter was. You saw in the opening game of the season against VCU how much having a stable ball-handler would help. With SJSU’s defensive issues, it will be interesting to see how Coach Prioleau gameplans for it.

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SJSU has struggled with post defense this season; The Aggies may not need to focus too much on their guards. Just feed Justin Bean and Neemias Queta, although Queta is shooting a career-low 49% from the field. There is a lot of questions with the Aggies offense this season, shooting only 29.9% from deep along with 44.7% effective field goal percentage. It’ll be an exciting battle between a struggling offensive team & and a disastrous defensive team.

Keys to the series for San Jose State:

The Spartans have to make USU’s guards beat them this series, rather than the big-men. There are a few options on what they can do. Maybe they double the big-men at specific points because if they play one-on-one with Queta & Bean, that is a losing recipe.

SJSU needs to make shots from inside-the-arc. As a team, San Jose State is shooting 35.9% from two-point range, which ranks 2nd-to-last in the entire country only behind Mississippi Valley State. While the 7-foot freshman Clarkin has struggled on defense this season, he’s 4-6 from the field this season and has shown flashes on offense. Try to get Clarkin comfortable, get him some confidence, and fix things up. A part of the issue with that for the Spartans is that they don’t run an offense. They rank 22nd in tempo on KenPom and need to slow it down to figure out some sort of winning strategy.

Try to force Craig Smith’s team to turn the ball over. SJSU doesn’t force turnovers very often, but they will need to win on the road if they want to win.

Players to watch: Hugo Clarkin/Ralph Agee

As I mentioned before, the two primary bigs will have to play a big role on both sides of the ball. Playing in Logan is tough, and Jean Prioleau has a tough task on his hands, but with these two playing well, that can only help.

Series Prediction:

Utah St wins game one: 85-64

Utah St wins game two: 89-77

I see the firt game being a big struggle, but we’ve seen this season in the two-game series the result are usually vastly different. I think SJSU plays competitively in Game Two but ultimately loses.


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