Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Diamond Head Game 3: San Diego State

The Aztecs of San Diego state have arguably been the most successful team west of the Mississippi River for the last few years.  Steve Fisher has turned what used to be a bottom dweller of the Mountain West into a perennial Top 25 contender.  I think there are some questions about this year's team even though they come in with an 11-1 record.   The one loss came to a very good Syracuse team on the deck of a boat, and they have two respectable wins against Pac 12 foes. They beat USC at the Galen Center, but only by six.  They also took down UCLA by nine in Anaheim.  On the other hand, two of their wins were against non-Division I opponents.  A 27 point win against the Point Loma Sea Lions is not particularly telling.

On paper, the Miami Hurricanes look very similar to SDSU, but when we got the Canes, their most impactful player was injured and on the bench. I don't mean to downplay the significance of this game.  A game on a neutral court against a top 25 team is always a big deal. Here's how the two teams compare:

The short version is that the Cats have have been much better on offense, but SDSU has marginally better defensive stats.  We are a better rebounding team. They are more experienced. We are deeper. They turn it over less.  They have three very good players in Jamaal Franklin, Xavier Thames, and Chase Tapley, who account for almost 57% of the team's points.  Franklin is a very skilled rebounder and gets to the line a lot.

The simulation gives us a 68.4% chance of winning this one and a six to seven point advantage.  The most likely score is 73-66.   All I want for Christmas is to get through the non-conference schedule without a loss, and I think we have a good shot. 

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