U.C. Irvine vs. SDSU: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Anteaters are for real, but the Aztecs have something major to prove after last week’s cathartic Maui Invitational Tournament.
The Anteaters are making 42.3% from behind the arc as a team.
WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 29th — 7:00pm PST / 10:00pm EST
WHERE: Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA (Capacity 12,414)
TV: Not televised.
LIVE STREAM: YurView (Cox channel 4, stream at YurView.com or GoAztecs.com); 760-AM
RADIO: 101.5 KGB / XTRA 1360 / iHeart Radio App
SERIES RECORD: SDSU leads 7-3, including the last three straight.
LAST MEETING: The most recent meeting was a 77-58 Aztecs win at an empty Viejas Arena on November 7th, 2020.
ODDS: SDSU -11.5
San Diego, CA – The #24 San Diego State Aztecs (4-2, 0-0 MW) host the U.C. Irvine Anteaters (6-1, 0-0 Big West) at Viejas Arena on the Mesa.
This match will be the annual Nike N7 game, and the Aztecs will be donning turquoise uniforms celebrating Native American Heritage Month. They later auction the uniforms for charity.
The Aztecs will find themselves surprisingly challenged when they host the Anteaters who have far outperformed expectations in the preseason thus far.
Why The Anteaters Will Win
Coach Russell Turner’s Anteaters are commanding attention after a 6-1 start that includes a 69-56 win at #21 Oregon, where the Ducks were favored by 15.5 points. At one point they were one possession from a 30-point deficit.
The Anteaters also won the four-team Las Vegas Holiday Classic Invite with wins against Nichols State and New Mexico State. It was a small event, but the Anteaters took the trophy.
The Anteaters average just over 83 points while allowing 59. It’s notable that there are Division II wins in that equation.
Irvine usually has bigs, and German 7-footer Bent Leuchen will be in the fold tonight. Still, he’s not super dominant, averaging 8 points and 16 minutes of play time.
The Aztecs must be vigilant because UCI definitely lights up the arc. Junior guard DJ Davis, Lamont Butler’s old at Riverside King High teammate, is the top scorer at 15 points. Davis is dangerous from 4-6 feet behind the arc, and he is currently making a remarkable 46.8 percent in three point land. Dawson Baker averages 13.4 points, and will have to be watched as well.
As a TEAM the Anteaters are shooting 42.3 percent beyond the arc, and that’s dangerous.
Most critical: the Anteaters will enter Viejas Arena believing that they can beat the Aztecs, and they will play to win.
Why the Aztecs Will Win
Coach Brian Dutcher originally thought the Anteaters would be a pretty basic game as the Aztecs return from their journey out in Maui, and in three days the Aztecs played a harder three games than most any team in NCAA basketball.
So, with the surprise that the Anteaters are prolific and talented, the Aztecs will have to battle at a time that they thought they’d have a break.
Still, the Aztecs have an axe to grind, and look for Lamont Butler, Matt Bradley, Nathan Mensah and Keshad Johnson to play tonight’s game with a furor after last week’s high’s and low’s.
What Will Happen
The Aztecs ought to be able to win handily, but the Anteaters are a wild card, who had plenty of tape to review before tonight’s match. It’s hard to say the Aztecs will break away. They may lead by 10 points, but the Anteaters are going to keep it close.
The Aztecs have home court, and will feel at home.
Final Score: SDSU 82, Arizona 76