Maui Jim Invitational First Round Preview: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Maui Jim Invitational First Round Preview: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Maui Invitational

Maui Jim Invitational First Round Preview: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Ohio State Buckeyes


Maui Jim Invitational First Round Preview : SDSU Aztecs vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes have not yet faced an opponent ranked inside NCAA basketball’s top 300 this season.

Contact/Follow @tedmcgovern & @MWCwire

The #17 Aztecs have already taken down Stanford and BYU this season. Are the Buckeyes ready for strong opponents?

Maui Jim Maui Invitational- Round 1:  Ohio State University Buckeyes (3-0, 0-0 BIG 10) vs. San Diego State University Aztecs (3-0, 0-0 MW) 

WHEN: Monday, November 21st — 4pm HST / 6pm PST / 9pm EST

WHERE: Lahaina Civic Center, Lahaina, HI (2,400)


LIVE STREAM: fuboTV (Watch for free)

RADIO: 101.5 KGB / XTRA 1360 / iHeart Radio App

SERIES RECORD: This is the 4th matchup between the Aztecs and the Buckeyes.  SDSU maintains a 2-1 series lead, and a 2-game winning streak.

LAST MEETING: SDSU defeated the Buckeyes 83-61 in the quarterfinal of the 2003 Maui Invitational, on November 24, 2003

WEBSITES:, the official San Diego State athletics website; the official Ohio State athletics website.

ODDS: Aztecs -2.5


Maui, HI-  The Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) will be playing for an upset when they tip off against the #17 San Diego State Aztecs (3-0, 0-0 MW) in the 2022 Maui Jim Invitational on Monday night. The Buckeyes are coming off a 65-43 win over Eastern Illinois as 31-point favorites. The Aztecs are coming off a 74-62 win over Stanford as 4.5-point favorites.

All eyes will be on the Aztecs Monday as the favored team. Ohio State has a chance to prove if the defense that held Eastern Illinois to 25% shooting and 43 points last Wednesday is legitimate.

Buckeyes Seek A Respectable Victory

Ohio State is averaging 79.3 points per game. They scored 65 points in their last game, making 40.4 percent of their field goals and 28.6 percent of their three-pointers against Eastern Illinois.

In that match, Brice Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes with 20 points and four boards. Zed Key finished with a 10 points and 14 boards double-double, while Roddy Gayle Jr. chipped in eight points and three assists.

Ohio State has looked great defensively against their recent competition, giving up just 50.7 points per game. They gave up 43 points in their last game and will need a similar effort if they want to win this game.

Notably, however, Eastern Illinois ranks #351 and SDSU ranks #17.

Head coach Chris Holtmann brought new talent to Ohio State University this summer, building off of their second round March Madness Tournament appearance. Holtmann added transfers Tanner Holden, Sean McNeil and Isaac Likekele. Holden is a diamond in the rough. McNeil was strong for West Virginia in Morgantown. He produces from behind the arc. Likekele hails from Oklahoma State University, and was a top rim protector in the Big-12. Junior forward Key rounds out the front court.

Sixth-year senior Justice Sueing is sidelined with abdominal injury.

The Buckeyes are currently the No. 42 defense in the country after finishing 111 last year. Considering they have only faced teams outside of the top 300 this season, it’s unclear if that ranking is sound. Still, Ohio State dominates the glass averaging 49 boards per game.

Aztecs Look To Stay Undefeated

SDSU has played well so far, winning their first three games- each against solid competitors. They will try to keep their record perfect with a win over the Buckeyes. The Aztecs are averaging 78.7 points per game. They scored 74 points in their last game, making 51 percent of their field goals and 38.1 percent of their three-pointers. San Diego State has played extremely well defensively, giving up 64.7 points per game. They gave up 62 points in their last game and will need to keep it up if they want to get the win.

The Aztecs have battle-tested veterans. They have four out of five starters from their 2022 NCAA Tourney appearance. Seattle University star and transfer Darrion Trammell joins the starting lineup after two seasons averaging 17+ points per game for the Redhawks. Trammell is a versatile guard who plays far bigger than his stature. The senior impacts Aztecs defense fiercely, by haranguing opposing guards. With his agility, intense pressure, and rapid movement, he rattles even the most steady handles.

Two-way guard Matt Bradley, was placed on the preseason watch list for the Jerry West Award, which recognizes the top shooting guards in the country. The 6-foot-4 guard can be seen taking defenders off the dribble, finishing at the rim. Bradley’s skills, combined with his experience, makes him one of the more dynamic two-way guards… in the nation.

With a 7’4″ wingspan, Nathan Mensah always will rebound and shot block with authority. Mensah runs the floor well for a player his size. Lamont Butler and Keshad Johnson also appear in the starting five. The Aztecs do have enough talent to win three games in Maui.

Head coach Brian Dutcher and the Aztecs are the dark horse in this tournament, as prognosticators eye Arizona and Arkansas.

What Will Happen

The Aztecs have been stellar with ball handling. The Buckeyes play well defensively, but they’re going to have a hard time containing the Aztecs.  The Buckeyes clean up the boards, but they haven’t handled the ball carefully. The Aztecs average over 12 steals per game against strong foes, and this will be problematic for the Buckeyes.  The Aztecs are also keeping opponents under 65 points per game, so the Buckeyes will have a hard time scoring.

The Aztecs should secure the victory.

Final Score: Buckeyes 64,  Aztecs 76









More MWWire