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Keys to Beating the Aztecs

24 January 2011 Mekeli Wesley 7 Comments

BYU faces SDSU on Wednesday (AP)

If you’re like me you’ve had January 26th marked on your calendar, highlighted in anticipation of the showdown between the 4th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs (20-0, 5-0) and the No. 9 BYU Cougars (19-1, 5-0).

San Diego State is one of two undefeated teams remaining in college basketball, and has now cracked the Top 5.

Both teams have taken care of business in conference, and have won games on the road in tough college basketball atmospheres. Wednesday night will be no exception for this game in Provo.

Expect the Marriott Center to be packed with Cougar fans cheering on their team, for the biggest game in Mountain West Conference history.

For the Cougars to be successful they will need to impose their will on the Aztecs and execute the game plan Coach Rose and his staff has prepared.

A big key to executing the plan will be the big men staying out of foul trouble and on the floor. Brandon Davies and Noah Hartsock have been playing extremely well of late, but have been hampered throughout the year with foul trouble.

This Aztec team is the most athletic team BYU will have faced up to this point. Along with the athleticism, they are very long and are playing very good basketball, shooting over 49.2% from the field — good for 7th in the nation. Solid defense and the ability to keep SDSU off the glass will be crucial for BYU’s success.

Along with the defense by the big men, they will need to play well on the offensive end as well.

Davies has shown he can be dominant on the low block, and Hartsock has worked hard on his outside shot and rebounding ability. Establishing an inside presence will go a long way in relieving some of the pressure on Jimmer and Jackson on the outside, and could be a big deciding factor in the game.

SDSU isn’t known for its outside shooting, so we may see some zone defense by the Cougs, but rebounding out of the zone will be a must. Point guard D.J. Gay proved he has range by hitting seven threes against New Mexico at the Pit.

Kyle Collinsworth is coming off his best performance as a Cougar in Fort Collins by scoring 16 points on 6-8 shooting and grabbing 6 rebounds to go with 6 assists. He will also play a big part in the success for this BYU team that relies so heavily on their two senior guards. We have also seen Kyle getting minutes at the back-up point guard when Jimmer sits. Kyle’s versatility and quickness at 6’7”, and his ability to play multiple positions on the floor is proving to be huge.

This game will be a circus, full of hype, publicity, and speculation. If the Cougars can keep their big men on the floor, get the job done on the defensive end, and rebound the ball, they will win.


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  • Tent Trash said:

    I think we win this game at the free-throw line. BYU averages +80% while SDSU is in the low 60% range. Jimmer drives, jimmer goes to the line, we win.

  • Seasider said:

    You can almost guarantee SDSU will run their guys right at BYU’s big men in an effort to draw fouls early and take away the inside game. I would not be surprised to a lot of subbing in and out of forwards and a lot of soft defense in an effort to save some fouls for later. Rebounding is also going to be a big factor in the game. This is the kind of game Jimmer lives for so I’m expecting a big game from him.

  • ThunderD said:

    This game will be won or lost with rebounding. If BYU can keep SDSU off of the glass, especially the offensive boards, they will win.

  • CaseyA said:

    Tough part about SDSU from Jimmer’s perspective is that they don’t foul. They are one of the best teams in the nation at not fouling.

  • kiyoshige said:

    The foul issue is huge, IMO. Can you game plan for this? You never know how the officials are going to call things, but one thing is for certain in this type of game – one fan base is going to be upset at the officiating.

    Can Coach Rose say, “OK, guys, we have to not foul this guys when they are driving to the basket” ?

    Our bigs are going to be in foul trouble and Jimmer is not going to get the calls on the other end of the floor. We’re going to need our bench to step up and contribute somehow. Maybe not in points, but in rebounds, taking charges and spreading out fouls.

  • Jim Tills said:

    San Diego State is coming in fired up. They will be jumping 18″ above the rim for the first six minutes, missing easy shots, and pressing full court. They will assign one man to be like glue on Jimmer and switch who that man is when Jimmer gets free and starts scoring. Collingsworth will need to keep his cool and not get the ball pickpocketed from him. He needs to have a monster game. Noah Hartsock has got to be up for this game as never before. No more 3-point, 4-foul performances like with CSU. Davies must not get any needless fouls. Fouling a man out on the perimeter is absolutely forbidden in this game.
    I believe BYU wins this game easily if they all bring their A-game. If so, this will be a statement win! Jimmer and Jackson need to be Jimmer and Jackson. Winning, BYU will rank above SDSU but only to #7 nationally. If they then go forward and beat New Mexico at the Pit on Saturday, they will go to #6. The media and coaches will think twice about ranking a mid-major in the top 5 once again so soon.
    Over-all this will be one of the greatest games ever played at the Marriot Center and a signature win for the Cougs.

  • Steve said:

    This game will likely turn on officiating, just like last year’s big game against New Mexico. Since this is BYU’s last season in the MWC, look for the MWC officials to call things in favor of the Aztecs (who will still be around next year). If the league assigns the same refs who showed up for last year’s showdown with UNM, watch out for the job.

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