San Diego State vs. BYU: Preview, Livestream and More
Aztecs vs. Cougars: more than a game . . . more than a rivalry.
“I love it. I’m looking so forward to it. I don’t know if you call it a rivalry but there’s some tension with San Diego State!”-Alex Barcello
Provo, UT – Brian Dutcher’s Aztecs face off against Mark Pope’s Cougars at the Marriott Center in front of a packed crowd this Friday night. Both teams have managed to sharpen their teeth on season-opening appetizers. SDSU kicked off the season taking down U.C. Riverside 66-53, while BYU opened their season by handling Cleveland State 69-59. Both teams looked pretty strong.
On Friday night “pretty strong” becomes “on like Donkey Kong” because this long time uber-rivalry affords both teams a serious potential resume-building win. Fans can expect to see two prospective top-25 teams play with electric intensity and desperation forged from long tradition and mutual respect.
WHO: SDSU Aztecs (1-0, 0-0 MW) vs. BYU Cougars (1-0, 0-0 WCC)
WHEN: Friday, November 12th – 9:00 PM EST / 7:00 PM MST
WHERE: Marriott Center, Provo, UT
LISTEN: RADIO: 101.5 KGB | XTRA 1360 | BYU Radio | 1160 AM
SERIES RECORD: This will be the 76th meeting between these two schools. BYU leads the series 49-26
LAST MATCHUP: In 2020 Cougars won 72-62 over #18 Aztecs in San Diego.
LAST LAST MATCHUP: In 2019, Aztecs beat Cougars in Provo 76-71, marking Coach Mark Pope’s first ever defeat as BYU head coach.
ODDS: BYU -3
OVER UNDER: 135.5
KenPom has San Diego State ranked #33, while BYU is now ranked #38. In light of this, the Cougars are predicted to walk away victorious.
BYU had a great season in 2021, and made the NCAA Tourney, but met a disappointing end, losing in the first round to Final Four contenders UCLA.
Taking a closer look, the Cougars are a mature college basketball team. Projected starters are 6’9″ senior forward Gavin Baxter; 6’2″ senior guard Alex Barcello, 6’6′ senior forward Gideon George, 6’1″ senior guard Te’Jon Lucas, and 6’8″sophomore forward Caleb Loehner.
In the season opener, Barcello played his brand of ball, fiercely defending on one end of the court and making six assists and 29 points on the other.
Lohner managed seven points and nine boards in the Cougars’ season opener. He could be a serious impact player this season.
A tough blow to the Cougars is 6’11” senior center Richard Harward who is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury.
The Cougars are a seasoned basketball team: oft older; some married, some balding- but make no mistake. They are ready to rumble.
SDSU also came to a disappointing 2021 NCAA Tournament end, with a first round loss against red-hot Syracuse, following a stellar 23-5 season.
The Aztecs also said good bye to marquee players Matt Mitchell, Jordan Schakel and Terrell Gomez.
They did however gain sharp-shooting Cal grad transfer Matt Bradley, who averaged 18 points and 4.6 rebounds last season. Bradley had 23 points in SDSU’s season opening win over U.C. Riverside.
6’10” senior forward Nathan Mensah returns to the court, after managing a near-double-double with 8 points and 10 boards in the Riverside win.
Trey Pulliam, Keshad Johnson, Adam Seiko, Lamont Butler and Aguek Arop, return along with a deep bench for the Aztecs this 2021-22 season.
The Cougars are great defenders, however the Aztecs are elite. The Aztecs are not granted play time if they don’t aggressively defend.
On offense the Aztecs are formidable, however the Cougars are true long-range snipers. They’ll deal a death of a thousand cuts if not closely guarded.
The marquee rivalry in this game is undoubtedly Bradley versus Barcello.
This game comes down to whether San Diego State applies its elite defense effectively against BYU’s long-range offense. If SDSU can agitate Barcello and company; cleanly block shots, and force turnovers they will can come away victorious. If the Aztecs don’t guard BYU intensively from two meters past the arc, they could struggle.
In the end, the Aztecs will surprise the Cougars with their deep bench of strong talent, and a few of their own snipers- and escape with the win.
Final Score: San Diego State 72, Brigham Young 67