San Jose State vs. San Diego State Series Preview
Aztecs are finally back on the court.
The Spartans head to San Diego!
SERIES: San Jose State (5-11, 3-9) San Diego State Aztecs (13-4, 7-3) In the Viejas Arena in San Diego
GAME ONE TV: FS1
GAME ONE STREAM: FuboTV – Get a seven-day free trial
GAME TWO TV: NONE
GAME TWO STREAM: MW NETWORK
SJSU RADIO: TuneIn
SDSU RADIO: TuneIn
ODDS: SDSU giving 26.5 points
Brian Dutcher’s Aztecs return to action after last week’s series vs. New Mexico was canceled to host SJSU, and the Spartans look to play spoiler.
*Worth noting* Richard Washington’s missed the last two weeks with a head injury, no updates on his status for this series. SJSU is absolutely missing Washington, but they’ve been able to win three consecutive without him due to big outings from Trey Smith, Ralph Agee, Omari Moore.
Trey Smith most notably is stepping up, with a trio of 15-plus point outings without Washington. That’ll have to continue even when Washington returns.
Don’t expect much scoring inside from SJSU in this one with the defensive anchor for SDSU down low, Nathan Mensah. That man is unreal on the defensive end.
The obvious issue for San Jose State continues to be on the defensive end. Opposing teams shot 56% from inside-the-arc against the Spartans; that has to change. That’s a losing formula. Omari Moore is actually the team’s best defender using advanced stats such as dBPM (defensive box plus-minus.) Moore leads the team with a -0.1 dBPM, which isn’t good by any means, but compared to guys like Ralph Agee, posting -3.9 shows why the Spartans struggle guarding the paint in the fashion they do.
That means for SDSU, guys like Mensah and Matt Mitchell should thrive in this series with their ability to use strength & athleticism to score at the basket. Mitchell mostly uses his strength to overpower defenders inside. Look for that often in this series.
The Aztecs defense is a lockdown. Ranking 23rd in defensive efficiency on KenPom that ranks first in the MW conference. Since getting swept in a series in Logan against USU.
San Diego State simply put CANNOT afford a loss to San Jose State. A loss here would be a Q4 loss, a devastating blow for a team chilling around the bubble. I think The Aztecs are better than most seem to due to their metrics, wins, and no bad losses.
SDSU loves shooting the deep-ball and does so at a high-clip, 39%. That hefty percentage ranks eighth in the entire country. A fun stat is there is four rotation player shooting the ball above 40% from deep. Who are those players? Matt Mitchell, Adam Seiko, Jordan Schakel, and Terrell Gomez. This series could be a big pick me up for SDSU down the stretch.
And in reality, the Aztecs should be able to win these games handily.
based on the difference between the two teams.
Also, pay attention to LaMont Butler in this game. The freshman guard looks to be the next great guard for Brian Dutcher; with double-figures in the past two games against Wyoming, Butler showed why he would be a force in this conference.
Keys to the series:
For SDSU, you have to pound the paint repeatedly. Odds are it’ll work, get Mensah & Mitchell rolling inside, and then if SJSU started preparing for that, get it to your shooters on the perimeter.
For SJSU, they have to play mistake-free basketball. Limit the defensive lapses, fouls, contested shots. Against a team this much better than your team means you have to play nearly perfect.
Players to watch:
SJSU: Trey Smith
SDSU: LaMont Butler
Game one prediction: SJSU: 61, SDSU 84
Game two prediction: SJSU: 69, SDSU: 90
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