1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Friday “Aztecs-Keys to Game”
San Diego State is no longer a ‘Cinderella team’.
They are expected to be in the Sweet 16 team almost yearly.
The national media now refers to Princeton or Florida Atlantic as wearing the surprise description.
Now it’s Big Boy basketball, as the Aztecs face #1 ranked Alabama.
Here are things to look for when the Aztecs meet the Tide.
REFS..Big question, will the striped shirts allow the bigs to bang on each other. San Diego State mugged Furman and Charleston.
DEPTH CHART…San Diego State can go 9-deep with players they trust, and that includes 5-bigs. Alabama has a big front line but very little big man depth.
WAR OF ATTRITION…Defending against a Tide frontline that goes 6’9…6’10 and 7’…San Diego State will have 25-fouls to give in the game to slow down Brandon Miller and Bama’s two other big men. State hasn’t face this type of size since the Maui Classic loss to Arizona.
OFFENSE…The Tide are averaging (82) points per game. They push the pace, they shoot 3’s (10) made per game and they want to dictate tempo.
PERSONALITY…SDSU wants to make this a half court game but that may be hard. SDSU’s defense allows the other team to shoot just 32% in the tourney and only 29% from the 3-point line in the tourney. But much of that comes from forcing the other guy into a half court game. What if they can’t?
3-POINTS…SDSU has shown no consistency in hitting 3’s in the tourney. Now you are facing a pretty fierce defensive team. They have to hit 3’s because scoring inside may be a real problem against the Bama bigs.
BOARDS…You are always impressed with what Nathan Mensah and the boys do off the glass, 42-rebounds a night. But then you look at the guys from the SEC, and Bama averages 44-boards a game
POINT GUARDS…Doesn’t get any better than the Matt Bradley-vs-Juvon Quinney matchup, veteran guard vs hot young playmaker.
EXPERIENCE…An intangible that bears watching. SDSU’s roster carries volumes of experience, all those 4th-5th and a 6-year player. Alabama is really young, and really thin along the front line. And their roster has limited tourney experience. Big difference maker here.
KEYS TO THE GAME…Aztecs have to keep their key big men out of early foul trouble. Brian Dutcher has to find someone with a hot hand on offense early in the game. Does State double the likely player of the year Brandon Miller and dare Alabama to beat them with everyone else. But the Tide did win a first tourney game when Miller went scoreless.
Watch it, enjoy, and dream maybe there is an upset here for SDSU and a chance to play for a Final 4-slot come Sunday. The way to you play the day you play will determine this Friday night game.