One of the late-night games for today’s college basketball slate will feature a mountain west showdown between the San Diego State Aztecs and Utah State Aggies. We’ll preview the exciting conference game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
Utah State will enter tonight winners of their last three games, which brings their overall record to 19-5 and their conference record to 8-3. The Aggies have continually proven to be one of the best shooting teams in the country and now rank first in the country in three-point shooting percentage. Their impressive 40.8% shooting from behind the arc has led to them being ranked 12th in offensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom.
The Aggies' ball movement and overall play style have made it incredibly difficult for opponents to force them into bad shots. A large portion of the Aggies' shots each game are assisted, as they rank 8th in the country in assists per game, and this unselfish play has, in turn, made them the highest-rank team in the country in terms of shooting efficiency.
The overall makeup of this team is based almost entirely on offensive success, which becomes apparent by looking at the Aggies' defensive numbers. Utah State ranks 127th in the country in defensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom, and they also rank 207th in average points allowed per game. Their opponent tonight is much more of a defensive-minded team, but the Aztecs' offense still has some impressive numbers.
Entering tonight, SDSU is ranked 31st in offensive efficiency rating on KenPom, and they have scored 70 or more points in four of their last five games. One of those games was a win over the Aggies, in which SDSU scored 85 points on a 48% field goal percentage.
It’s not often a team can out-offense the Aggies, but the Aztecs managed to even outshoot them from three-point range. SDSU is 28th in defensive efficiency rating and 24th in opponent three-point percentage, so they possess the tools needed to be an Aggies team.
Utah State is currently listed as -2 point home favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. The Aggies being favored in this one after losing by ten in the last meeting as seven-point underdogs is an interesting development that stands out enough for me to take them.
Utah State scoring 75 points in the last meeting while only shooting 33% from three could mean if they find success from three tonight, it could be a different story. Leading scorer Steven Ashworth was held to just eight points when these teams last met, but since that game, he has been scoring at a high level. Ashworth shot 47.1% from three on 17 attempts in the Aggies' last game, so I have a feeling the Aztecs won’t be able to limit him like they did last game.
SDSU had an outlier three-point shooting performance the last time these teams met, and I don’t think they will be able to replicate that type of showing tonight. The Aztecs generally shoot 34.4% from three this season, so a 55% night from deep may not be something they can rely on, especially on the road. The road aspect is important because, in the last 21 meetings between these two teams, the home team is 16-4-1 ATS.
Utah State (-2)