Breaking down why Utah State should win the title game.
Today, I’ll be giving my reasons why Utah State should win the title game over SDSU for a third consecutive season.
Despite not getting MW player of the year honors, it would be tough to argue that Queta isn’t the most dominant player in the Mountain West, due to his absurd size & strength combination. He showed his dominance on full-display in the semifinal game against Colorado State, with 18 PTS, 14 REB while blocking nine shots. It’s not often you see a player dropping those kinds of numbers against high-level competition.
We’ve seen Queta dominate SDSU earlier in the season, dropping a double-double the first game, and 10 PTS, 8 RBS & 5 Blocked shots in the 2nd go around, both games resulting in Aggies victories.
The sheer paint dominance is something special, he controls what happens down there. Facing Nathan Mensah will be interesting, considering the length of Mensah, but Queta’s insane strength should allow him to succeed here.
If Queta’s able to establish paint position, good luck stopping him. He’s going to back you down directly to the basket.
The Aggies transformed themselves into an elite defensive unit this season, ranking 8th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency ranking. They never allow anything easy. Matt Mitchell loves finding ways to clear space inside, getting to a nice mid-range shot, or simply out-muscling opponents on the block. Against USU that’s not happening, they could opt to put Queta on Mitchell should he gets going, but likely, it’ll be Justin Bean, another high-level defender.
We already know how dominating they are defending the paint, but with the high-volume that SDSU shoots at from deep, defending the perimeter is going to be paramount.
In the two games earlier in the season between the two, SDSU shot a ghastly 11-40 from deep, far from the norm for Brian Dutcher’s crew. Keeping it tight on the perimeter, contesting jumpers, but not fouling, not over-helping on shots will all be important facing a high-level shooting team.
Always having a body on Terrell Gomez is something to keep a close eye on. The thing about Gomez, is he isn’t quick, he isn’t overly athletic, but has a shooters mentality, getting the ball off a screen, then taking a three with his silky smooth shot. He’s fantastic getting shots off in tough positions, despite only being 5’8. Rollie Worster locking down SDSU’s X-Factor will be a big development.
Despite this version of Utah State not having the same personnel in the past, with Sam Merrill leading the charge, and shooting far less shots from outside, making a fair amount is a must. In the game against CSU, they only went 7-25. It was a struggle for Brock Miller, going only 3-11 from deep, Steven Ashworth going 0-3 from deep & Marco Anthony only went 1-4. Those shots have to start falling. It’s inevitable San Diego State will nail shots eventually, meaning staying with them blow-for-blow a big thing.
Looking at what happened in the semifinal matchup, Steven Ashworth only played 10 minutes in the contest, with Rollie Worster back, that’s diminished the role of Ashworth. In the conference tournament, the young freshman is only 0-6 in 23 minutes in two games, for USU to win this title game, having Steven Ashworth being an key part of it, will be a major plus.
Brock Miller is the most reliable shooter for Utah State throughout the season, shooting nearly 40% from outside prior to the conference tournament. It hasn’t been smooth-sailing in the MW tourney, with Miller shooting only 5-19 from deep in the first two games. When there’s a play like Miller that can absolutely let it fly from anywhere on the floor, performing in the biggest game of the season, with everything on the line will be vital.
Those are major things I see happening for Utah State winning the Basketball game, earning themselves a spot into the NCAA Tournament.