Nevada vs #5 SDSU Game Preview

SDSU's Thames will go head to head with Nevada's Deonte Burton. - Kent Horner

Saturday February 8th, the Nevada Wolf Pack make the trip down to San Diego for a tilt against the #5 Aztecs. The game is set to tip at 7 pm PT and can be seen on ESPN3.com.

In a game that will feature two of the three top teams in the Mountain West Conference standings, two players may determine the outcome. The game provides a matchup with point guards Xavier Thames and Deonte Burton, two of the best players in the conference. Thames is a do everything point guard who is averaging 18ppg, 3.0rpg, and 2.6apg and having a breakout year. Burton, a senior like Thames, has slightly better statistical numbers on the year, averaging 21.1ppg, 4.2rpg, and 3.9apg. These two players will be big contributors come game time, but what follows are keys for each team to get a win.

For the Aztec's To Win: they must rebound and rebound on both ends. The Aztecs offense is not spectacular and can get in long scoring droughts. If forward Josh Davis is hitting the offensive boards, he averages nearly four a game, those droughts don't seem so long because of the easy put backs and extra opportunities he creates. On the other end, Davis must limit Nevada from doing the same and getting extra possessions by boxing out Wolf Pack forward AJ West. The battle on the boards and specifically between Davis and West will go a long way to determining the winner.

For the Wolf Pack To Win: they must hit their three pointers. Nevada often falls in love with the deep ball and relies too heavily on the shot, becoming a team that lives and dies on the three. Nevada has very little interior scoring presence from their big men so the guards are often looked at for all the scoring. In the Wolf Pack's starting lineup they play four players, Burton, Michael Perez, Jerry Evans Jr. and Cole Huff, who are legitimate threats from behind the arc. These players will need to make a significant portion of their deep attempts to keep the game at a manageable distance and to open up driving lanes for players off the bench like Marqueze Coleman or DJ Fenner. If Nevada's guards can shoot 40% or better from three, they will stay competitive and the longer they hang around on the road, the more dangerous the underdog becomes.

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