X-Factors for Utah State
NCAA Tournament is tipped!
There’s many ways for teams to win Basketball games, but what will it take for Utah State to advance past the first round:
We know how valuable the star big-man has been for the Aggies this season, but his performance in the NCAA Tournament will be the most important game of the season. There’s momentous favor given to the Aggies, with the 7-foot Queta, squaring off against the 6’7 Marcus Santos-Silva for Texas Tech. That height advantage is the real “X-Factor” so to say, however, Queta’s overall performance is also an X-Factor. If your star player performs like he normally does, things look vastly better.
In seven of the past eight games, Queta snared a double-double, including one game with nine blocks. Statistically, he’s also coming in as the top defender in the country according to most metrics. If he defends the paint, like normally, look for USU to thrive.
Shooting from outside isn’t the focal point like in recent seasons when Sam Merrill was still suiting up for Utah State, but hitting three’s could open up the paint more. 33.7% on the season isn’t bad by any means, but struggled in the conference tournament from outside.
The teams top shooter, Brock Miller shot a bleak 6/24 from deep, equating to 25% in the three conference tournament games. That opposed to his 37% on the season, water finds it’s level & Miller is a rhythm shooter, once he gets one to fall early, watch out.
And despite not playing much in the conference tournament, Steven Ashworth left the game 0-6 from deep. Getting the freshman scorer involved makes a difference for the Aggies here, in a low-scoring contest, find ways to add points in bunches & Ashworth has proven the ability to do just that.
Contain Mac McClung:
No matter if the shots are falling, or not for McClung, he’ll continue taking them, but he possesses an innate ability to draw contact & get to the free-throw line, stay in front of him, force him to take tough pull-up jumpers. If you let McClung get inside, odds are he’s drawing contact and heading to the free-throw line. Tough jumpers is how you stop the talent scorer for the Red Raiders, force tough shots.
Win the rebound battle:
The Aggies have been a top ten rebounding team in the country this season, but dominating on the glass is always important. Tech struggles getting defensive rebounds, but is fantastic on the offensive glass, a big part of that is how Marcus Santos-Silva taps the ball back off rebounds. That’s a phenomenal ability to have that many. You have to be prepared that Santos-Silva isn’t looking to take the rebound for himself. He wants the ball to get to a teammate when the defense isn’t expecting it, something to game plan for.
Utah State coughs the ball up nearly 14 times-per-game on the season, while Texas Tech forces turnovers on nearly 24% of possessions. That’s a bad equation for Utah State, don’t give up the ball. Tech loves to force pressure on the ball, be prepared & turn it over 10 or fewer times, and things are looking positive for Utah State.
Those are some big things that Utah State can capitalize/watch out for if they can knock off Texas Tech.