After a historic season last year, San Diego State will be in this year’s NCAA Tournament, beating Utah State 68-57 in the Mountain West Championship. This win makes to 14 in a row heading into the tournament, setting up for them to be a dangerous team. Here are the three takeaways from this game.
1) Utah State has a long day tomorrow
As a bubble team, Utah State needed to win today to receive an auto bid and not have to deal with the selection Sunday stress. They were unable to do so, and now it is up to the selection committee to decide whether the Aggies deserve a spot in the tournament. According to Joe Lunardi, Utah State is a last four in, but this may change after the result. Craig Smith and the rest of the Utah State team aren’t going to sleep well tonight awaiting their fate.
2) Steals play a big role in the final result
You know what they say: Defense wins championships. SDSU did a great job on defense, holding Utah State to under 60 points and the 10-2 steal difference was a big factor as to why the Aztecs won this game. San Diego State is 12th in KenPom in adjusted D, and they will need to continue to perform at this level in the tournament to make a deep run.
3) San Diego State has second weekend potential
This year, there are very few mid-majors with second weekend potential. Gonzaga and Houston are the obvious ones, but San Diego State has made its case as well. They have some very talented players in Matt Mitchell, Jordan Schakel, and Trey Pulliam as well as a great coach in Brian Dutcher. With a favorable bracket, don’t be surprised if this team is in the Sweet 16 next week.
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