Air Force vs. San Jose State Series Preview
San Jose State (3-11, 1-9) Air Force (4-10, 2-8)
SJSU returns to San Jose for the first time this season.
The Series: San Jose State hosts the Air Force Academy Falcons
GAME 1 TIP TIME: 6:30 p.m. PT
GAME 2 TIP TIME: 3 p.m. PT
*It appears Richard Washington will be out for San Jose State at least in game one*
With Richard Washington likely out for this one, the Spartans look to replace 20.7 PPG. Washington suffered an injury midway through the first half of the New Mexico series and subsequently hasn’t played since.
However, in the game Washington missed, SJSU’s won their first conference game. How did SJSU win? Omari Moore & Ralph Agee had big games inside, Sebastian Mendoza had a coming-out party with 16 points, Trey Smith hit four triples, and Jalen Dalcourt was able to get fouled often. It’s interesting the way Jean Prioleau got his team ready to go after losing their best player to injury.
Look for Omari Moore, and Ralph Agee try to continue establishing themselves inside against an AFA team with their five-man/main conductor Nikc Jackson being prone to fouls. The Spartans shooting only 41.9% inside-the-arc is something that has to improve. Last game could’ve been the start of the change, or is it a fluke? We’ll have to see. That scoring comes from Moore & Agee.
Sebastian Mendoza’s another player to monitor. The Spartans freshman is shooting 36% from three, plays fearless, and makes plays. I could totally see Mendoza being a constant for SJSU in a weird year. The talent is there; consistency is the key. With Rich Washington out, this is Mendoza’s time to shine.
Another player that’ll need to perform here is junior guard Trey Smith for SJSU. Smith is a shooter that isn’t hitting them this season and went 4-8 against UNM. Hopefully, hitting those will get Smith’s confidence rolling and becoming a reliable piece for the Spartans.
Looking at AFA, the Falcons have been able to pull-off two conference victories in Reno over Nevada, then over Wyoming by three. Joe Scott, the former Princeton guard that coached at AFA in the mid-2000s before taking his dream job at his Alma Mater. Scott runs the “Princeton Offense.” If you aren’t familiar with the Princeton offense, the mastermind behind the theory is longtime Princeton HC Pete Carril. Carril led the Tigers for 29 seasons making 12 tournaments in his career. You see many coaches across the country deploy the Princeton Offense in an effective manner, mostly Lipscomb, with Ashan Asadullah running the five, which is the main decision-maker of the Princeton offense. Another example is former Princeton player, and current Richmond HC, Chris Mooney, who loosely run some Princeton concepts. It’s a tough offense to prepare for when ran effectively with the constant motions, the back-cuts, you have to be prepared to stop the Princeton concepts.
AFA runs the clock down like you would in most styles of the offense, till there are about 10 seconds left on the clock; you also have to be smart with the ball. Air Force didn’t do that in 2020-21, turning the ball over 24% of the time. With how the Falcons want to play, running the clock, limiting possibilities, turning it over will kill the team. The five-man is the main decision-maker of the offense. He’s turning the ball over a fair amount.
This is an efficient scoring team, but when you turn it over and don’t create 2nd chance opportunities, that hinders your upside. Air Force shoots threes on 42% of their possessions, and With elite shooters like A.J. Walker, Chris Joyce, and Glen McClintock, things can get dangerous for opposing teams when those three are clicking.
Air Force’s defense is horrendous, but this team can compete with the offensive talent more than they have in recent games.
Keys to the series:
AFA cannot keep turning the ball over at such a frequent clip.
The inside scoring for SJSU has to show up in this series, draw fouls, gain confidence, and see what happens.
Players to watch:
AFA: Chris Joyce
SJSU: Omari Moore
Game One Prediction:
AFA 72, SJSU 65
Game two prediction
AFA 80, SJSU 77