San Diego State vs. Nevada: Game Preview, How To Watch, Prediction
For the second time in four years, SDSU travels to Reno for final game of the season.
WHO: San Diego State Aztecs (20-7) Vs Nevada Wolfpack (12-16)
When: Saturday, March 5th, 10:30 PM ET/ 7:30 PM PT
Where: Reno, NV
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: FuboTV — Get a free trial
The Aztecs travel to Reno for the first time since 2020. In that game Malachi Flynn and Jalen Harris had a duel. The two front runners for Player of the year that season combined for 60 points in the game. This matchup likely won’t have as many fireworks.
Nevada has under achieved this season. They were widely seen as a top 3 or 4 team in the conference before the games started. They are currently in 8th place. Grant Scherfield hasn’t had the All-American season many expected. Both he and Warren Washington missed some time with injuries. IT has been a bumpy season, and they have lost three in a row.
The Aztecs have won eight of their last nine, and the one loss was by one point on the road to Boise St. They haven’t lived up to preseason expectaitons either, but the Aztecs seem to be finding their stride at the right time.
That being said, this will not be an easy game for either side. The Aztecs struggled to beat Fresno St. at home in double overtime on March 3rd. This will be their second game in three days, and they likely have tired legs. In addition, the Aztecs won the first matchup in Viejas by only two points. Both Grant Schedrfield and Warren Washington missed that game, and Nevada still played the Aztecs tough on the road. San Diego State may be a better team on paper, but with the context of fatigue, and better matchups for Nevada this time around, they have a real shot at pulling off the upset.
Desmond Cambridge did some damage in the last matchup. He had 18 points on 50% from deep. He has a history of playing well against SDSU, even going back to his days at Brown University. Adding Grant Scherfield to that production may be enough to give the Wolfpack the edge. Despite not living up to lofty expectations, he is arguably the best point guard in the league. He is 12th in the nation is assist percentage, is great at getting to the free throw line, and is known for hitting clutch shots late in games.
The Aztecs start with Matt Bradley. He carries the offense most nights, and has scored 56 points in the last two games. He scored 26 agaisnt the 22nd rated defense of Fresno St. despite being double and triple teamed when he touched the ball. He is as close to unguardable as a player can be.
Nathan Mensah is the anchor for the best defense in the nation, and is the front runner for Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West. He is 26th in the nation in block percentage, and is mobile enough at 6’10” to switch onto opposing guards, ruining the offensive flow of opponents.
The Aztecs are 6 point favorites in this game according to KenPom.
Keys for SDSU- The Aztecs will need someone to step up and help Matt Bradley. Aside from Matt Bradley no Aztec scored in double digits in the first meeting against Nevada. Getting some productuon from someone else will help take attention off of Bradley so he can continue to be efficient.
They also need to fight through the fatigue. They are playing their second game in three days, they already looked tired in the first one, and that game went to double overtime. They will have time to rest after this game, as they have locked up a top-5 finish in the conference, meaning they won’t play again until Thursday. They need to find a way to push through for 40 minutes to get the win.
Keys for Nevada – Nevada kept themselves in the game by sharing the ball and hitting shots from deep. The Aztecs clog the paint and have multiple rim protectors. Having a distributor like Scherfield back may help draw extra defenders to leave shooters open.
They will also want to shrink the paint and force the Aztecs to beat them from outside. SDSU does not have many iutside shooters, and playing tired will likely lead to missing shots short. If they can protect the paint they can prevent the Aztecs from scoring easy baskets.
Predictions – Nevada is a proud program, and over the last few years they have matchup up well with SDSU. They have lost their last three matchups with SDSU by a combined nine points, all at Viejas. Playing at home, with a healthy roster, and the Aztecs being fatiqued, should all combine to lead to an upset by Nevada. The Aztecs will have enough fight and defense to keep it close, but their inability to hit free throws to close games will burn them in this one.
Prediction – 62-60 Wolfpack