Sacramento State vs. Fresno State: Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
Fresno State looks to finish strong before conference play
Can the Bulldogs get back on track?
WHO: Sacramento State Hornets (5-5) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (3-6)
WHEN: Saturday, December 17th — 5:00 p.m. MST / 4:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Save Mart Center; Fresno, CA (15,596)
STREAMING: Mountain West Network
SERIES RECORD: This will be the 51st all time matchup between the two schools. Fresno State leads the series 40-9 all time (A 1998 Fresno State victory was vacated).
LAST MEETING: Fresno State won 77-65 back in 2008.
ODDS: Fresno State -9.5
177.3 miles separate these two schools. The Bulldogs have complete control in this series, winning 80% of the time with an overall record of 40-9. This will be the first matchup between these two schools in over 14 years. The Hornets are looking to extend their winning streak, while the Bulldogs are looking to get back in the win column after a close loss to Pacific.
This is going to be a closer game than the spread indicates. Fresno State has struggled this season from deep, shooting only 26% as a team. Sacramento State has come on strong in the scoring department after a slow start to the season. The Bulldogs will need to rely on their defense in this one to come out with the win.
— CALEB Productions (@calebprods) December 14, 2022
Players to Watch
C Callum McRae – Sacramento State
The big man from New Zealand is averaging close to a double-double this year with 10.7 points and 9.4 rebounds a game. But he also has some vision as he’s averaging 2.6 assists per game. The Bulldogs don’t really have any one on their roster who can body McRae, so if he can be fed the ball down low, the Hornets might make the Bulldogs day just a little longer.
G Jemarl Baker – Fresno State
Everyone knows Isaih Moore will get his for the Bulldogs. But the question is, who steps up behind Moore? It’s usually Jemarl Baker, as he is Fresno State’s second leading scorer. But Baker has a tendency to disappear. If Baker can become that second threat and open lanes for Moore, the Bulldogs have a chance to open up their offense.
We’re baaaaack 👀
— Fresno State Men’s Basketball (@FresnoStateMBB) December 15, 2022
Keys to the Game
For a team that struggles to shoot the ball from deep, they might need it in this game if they can’t get down low. The Bulldogs don’t really have anyone who can matchup size wise with Callum McRae. So they either need to start hitting from deep or they need to attack McRae and get him in foul trouble early.
The other key for the Bulldogs will be to share the ball more. The team is averaging just over 11 assists per game and no one player is averaging more than 2.6 assists per game. That selfish me ball style of play is a big factor in their low scoring average. Sharing the ball will help open up their offense.
The Bulldogs defense is actually pretty decent. They rank 67th in the nation in points per game allowed at 63.6 points and 87th in the nation in field goal percentage allowed at 40.6%. They will need to tighten up a little bit more today against Sacramento State as the Hornets shoot nearly 45% from the floor and average 70 points per game.
Sacramento State has spread their scoring around as five players average nine points or better per game. They’re a little bit better at sharing than the Bulldogs, but if Fresno State can close down the passing lanes, stay in front of their assignment, and force their man into a tough shot the Bulldogs have a chance to get back in the win column
This one is going to be closer than the spread indicates. Sacramento State scores, but also gets scored on. Fresno State doesn’t score, but also doesn’t allow their opponents to score. Who’s going to break first is the question of the day. The Bulldogs will pull it out, but it will a little too close for comfort.
Final Score: Fresno State 72, Sacramento State 68