San Diego State. vs Boise State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Prediction
Two of th ebest defenses in the nation get ready for a rock fight.
WHO: San Diego St. Aztecs (17-6) Vs Boise St. Broncos (21-6)
When: Tuesday, February 22nd, 9:00PM ET/ 6:00 PM PT
Where: Boise, Id
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: FuboTV — Get a free trial
These two teams met exactly one month ago. It was a trying game for both teams. The Aztecs were playing their first game since ending their Covid pause, and the Broncos were playing their third game in five days. The results showed on the scoreboard.
The final score was 42-37 in favor of the Broncos. The Aztecs scored just one point in the first 10 minutes of the second half before holding Boise St. scoreless for the next 9 minutes and taking a one point lead. At that point Marcus Shaver did his thing and sealed the game for Boise St.
The score was in part to having two top-11 defenses on the floor. The Aztecs rank first in the nation in adjusted defense, the Broncos rank 11th. Even after accounting for that though, it was the worst offensive performance by the Aztecs since before 2008. For Boise St. it was their second worst offensive performance of the season.
Things have changed since then. The Broncos are on a two game winning streak, not an eleven game winning streak, and they lsot at home to Colorado St. less than ten days ago. The Aztecs are on a five game winning streak, and for the first time all season their offense seems to be clicking. Their last three games are the three best offensive games they’ve played this season. They seem to be finding their stride at the right time.
The game will also be played in Boise, where the Broncos have a 5-4 record advantage over the Aztecs since joining the Mountian West.
The game will likely be another low scoring one. Both teams are among the best in the nation defensively, and neither are among the top-100 teams offensively.
With all the focus on defense, any player that can reliably score will really benefit their team.
The Aztecs have Matt Bradley, the Transfer from Cal who is averaging 19 points per game in conference play. He only scored two in the Aztecs last game against Fresno St, as he was double teamed almost instantly after touching the ball. He responded by collecting four assists to help the Aztecs win. Boise will need to decide if they want to play Bradley straight up or double him and force other players to score.
The other player to look for offensively is Chad Baker-Mazara. The 6’7″ transfer from Duquesne is averaging 8.5 points per game in conference play, but just put up 20 on Fresno St. When he is in his groove he is one of the better offensive players for SDSU.
The Broncos have a much more balanced attack, having four players that average over ten points a game but none that average more than fifteen. Freshman Tyson Degenhart is the favorite for conference freshman of the year, and is scoring 12.1 points while shooting 45% from deep in conference play.
The player the Bronces turn to in crunch time is the same one that broke Aztecs’ fans hearts a month ago. Marcus Shaver has made a name for himself by hitting clutch shots this season. Shaver is scoring 14.3 points per game in conference and is a threat to score from anywhere.
The Broncos are 3 point favorites in this game according to KenPom.
Keys for SDSU- The Aztecs will need to continue to play their physical brand of defense. They have shown they have the depth to do it, as DPOY favorite Nathan Mensah got into foul trouble early against Fresno St, but backups Tahirou Diabate and Joshua Tomaic were able to keep Orlando Robinson in check. The same goes for their guards. Play physical and don’t be too afraid to foul, as Boise St. is one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the nation.
The Aztecs also need to control the paint on both ends of the floor. Their Big-to-Big passing has been working the last few games, and has helped Keshad Johnson score in double digits for three games in a row. Controlling the paint on both ends will help the Aztecs score and limit Boise State’s scoring as well.
Keys for Boise State – The first key for the Broncos will be to guard Matt Bradley without double teaming him. Emmanuel Akot did a great job of that in the first matchup, as he was able to disturb Bradley with his length and athleticism. Lately Bradley has been seeing more double teams and collecting a lot of assists as a result. Guarding him with one player will help stagnate the rest of the offense as he isolates, and Akot is the ideal player for the job.
The Broncos will also want to use thier size to control the glass. The Broncos have one of the biggest teams in the nation, with four starters being 6’7″ or taller. Ending possessions and getting second chances on offense will go a long way.
Predictions – Boise St. is playing at home where they have historically pkayed much better against the Aztecs. That being said, the Aztecs have shown that holding Boise to 42 points wasn’t a fluke. They held a comparable Fresno St. offense to just 44. There is a reason the Aztecs are the number one defense in the nation. The offense has also found a groove lately and should play much better than the first meeting. The Broncos home crowd will help keep it close, but the Aztecs will continue their win streak to come away with this one.
Prediction – 64-56 Aztecs