San Diego State vs. Cal State Fullerton: Preview, Who To Watch, Prediction
Aztecs look to get back on track at home
WHO: San Diego State Aztecs (5-3) Vs Cal State Fullerton Titans (4-4)
When: Wednesday, December 8th 10:00 PM ET/ 7:00 PM PT
Where: San Diego, California
TV: MW Network
San Diego State returns home after taking a tough loss on the road against Michigan where they wore down late.
In the first half the Aztecs were able to keep it close, leading for stretches of the half and going into the locker rooms down only two. Then the fatigue caught up with them in the second half. The Aztecs especially missed Lamont Butler, who is out with a wrist fracture. With only one true ball handler, the Aztecs struggled to break Michigan’s full court press.
Despite giving up 72 points to Michigan, the Aztecs are still considered a top-10 defense by KenPom. They’ll need it, because they’ve struggled to get shots to fall all season.
Cal St. Fullerton is coming off a win against Pacific where they were in control for most of the game. They travel to San Diego for having two games at home against non-D1 competition. They’ll be hungry to pull off an upset, and if they do they’ll have a good chance of entering conference play on a four game win streak.
The Titans are led by 6’7 forward EJ Anosike, who excels at getting into the paint and finishing through contact. They haven’t had much in the way of perimeter shooting, but neither did Michigan, so it’s hard to buy into that.
Still missing Lamont Butler, players like Matt Bradley and Adam Seiko will have to step up to relive Point Guard Trey Pulliam of some ball handling responsibility. Matt Bradley has made some progress in terms of scoring efficiently in recent games. He’ll look to build on that momentum against the 258th ranked defense in the country.
Keys for Fullerton:
For the Titans to win they just need to find a way to score against a stout Aztecs defense. If they can finish in the paint, get offensive rebounds, and draw fouls, they’ll have a chance. The Aztecs offense tends to get in it’s own way and players miss a lot of shots, so if the Titans play aggressive, looking to draw contact and get put backs, they may be able to manufacture enough points to leave with a win.
Keys for the Aztecs:
The Aztecs will want to shrink the paint and help on penetration. They need to control the paint, collect every defensive rebound, and make Fullerton beat them from behind the three-point arc.
Hopefully doing so will also force some turnovers and let the Aztecs get out and run in transition, where they’ve been pretty successful this season.
If they can muck things up enough they can hold the Titans to a low score and keep themselves in the game even if shots don’t fall.
If anyone could finally start to warm up and hit shots, that would help immensely as well.
Fullerton has only played a single top-100 opponent in terms of KenPom rankings, and lost that game (to Santa Clara.) As bad as the Aztecs have looked, they’re still a top-50 team in terms of KenPom. Fullerton is a pretty average team all around, and their inability to hit many outside shots should play right into the Aztec’s defensive philosophy. The Titans will likely have their hands full. The Aztecs lack of offense is a concern, but they’re still good enough that they should leave with a win.
Aztecs wins 64-58.