Who wants to stay up all night watching college hoops? As part of ESPN's 24 hour college hoops marathon to kick-off the season, the Aztecs and Gaels will renew their recent rivalry as St. Mary's looks for revenge for its close loss at Cox Arena (now Viejas Arena) last year in the NIT quarter-finals. In that game, the Aztecs jumped out to a huge early lead but St. Mary's stormed back; fortunately for State they were able to hold off Patty Mills and the Gaels.
This game will match-up two different teams however as the Aztecs lost 4 of 5 starters from that game and Patty Mills jumped ship for the NBA. The Gaels and Aztecs both won their first games; St. Mary's a domination victory over New Mexico State and SDSU over DII UCSD.The teams are similar in that both are very young and talented but lack overall experience. They will have to look to their seniors for leadership.
Even without Mills, the Gaels strongly recruit in Australia; most of their players are Australian and they have a young and talented team. They also return star C Omar Samhan.The Aztecs played their opener without Preseason All-Conference forward Billy White (wrist), Tim Shelton (knee), or Tyrone Shelley (foot). Their status is questionable and it will be a game-time decision whether they play or not. This will likely have a huge impact on the game; Brian Carwell has done a great job of being able to replace White in the post but Shelley is one of the Aztecs most accurate shooters and they will lose a lot of offensive output if he does not play. With the loss of senior guard Richie Williams the Aztecs don't have a true point guard; DJ Gay and Chase Tapley are more of shooting guards.
I'll probably stay up until 2AM eastern watching this so if anyone is awake come open-thread the game with me! It should be a really good game in one of the smallest gyms in the country.