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Big Night in Mountain West Hoops: Open Thread and Previews

Tonight is the first really big night in hoops with San Diego State playing at University of San Diego, #25 Cal playing at the Pit against New Mexico, Arizona is hosting UNLV, and BYU is at Utah State.  These are the biggies for tonight. The first preview will be the Cal game at New Mexico.

Out all the Pac-10 woes from UCLA losing big man Drew Gordon to Gonzaga because he said "the team has no heart." Then there is that the league being pretty pathetic with league loses to Montana, Cal State-Fullerton, San Diego, Oral Roberts, and Loyala Marymount.  Then there is Cal who is number 25 in the polls sitting with a 4-2 record.  New Mexico is no joke sitting at 6-0 and is getting a little pub from the polls, but this will be their first big test this year.

The Lobos have a chance to contend in the Mountain West with their tough schedule that will test them and that starts tonight against Cal and then continues with games against Texas A&M, Creighton, San Diego, Texas Tech, and Dayton.  Their RPI will be up there but wins will be necessary as well for the Lobos.

The Lobos thought they would be struggling to replace their top three scorers, but coach Steve Alford has been surprised with Darington Hobson (18.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and forward Roman Martinez (14.7, 5.7), but the bigger surprise might be that Phillip McDonald who at any time can blow up; as example from his 27 point performance against rival New Mexico State.

On the Cal side, the team is still not at full strength until it gets Theo Robertson and Harper Kamp back in the lineup on a consistent basis, gives the Lobos a barometer to see how good they will be this season. The Bears' guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher will be the best back court they see all year.

Next Game

BYU Cougars (5-0)
@ Utah State Aggies (3-2)

Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009, 6:05 PM PST
Dee Glen Smith Spectrum

TV: CW 30 (locally in Utah)

ESPN 360 and ESPN Full Court

Complete Coverage >

This game is always a big matchup as both schools have been good the past five years.  On the year BYU has been blowing out teams by 27 per game and scoring 88 per game.  Those numbers will not be the same tonight, because Utah State has won 20 wins per season for who knows how long.  Also, the Aggies do not lose at the Spectrum which is one of the loudest arenas in the country.

Do not let the 3-2 record fool for Utah State they are always a good team the non-conference season can be difficult for the Aggies at times, but when the season ends they will be at the top of the WAC with 20 wins.  The only decent team that Utah State has played is Utah who is only 3-3 and lost by a single point; while the rest of their games have been against some pretty weak competition.

The leaders for Utah State are Tai Wesley (13 PPG and 5.8 REB), Jared Quayle (11.8 PPG, 8 REB, and 4.4 AST), and Nate Bendall (10.6 PPG and 7.4 REB).  In addition to those three there are three more players who average seven to eight points per game.  The Aggies have a balanced team which could help against BYU, but they will need to either play uptempo with BYU or try to stop the offensive power of Jonathan Tavernari, Jimmer Fredette, and Jacksn Emery.  All three of those players combine for 46 points which is nearly half of the teams production, so if Utah State can slow down any of those three the Aggies will have a good chance.

Neither of these schools are great hoops teams, but this is a rival game and that should make this an interesting game.  Both schools can put up some points as TCU averages 75.7 where SMU 69.3, and are capabale of scoring above that average. 

TCU's top players      PPG   REB  AST

Ronnie Moss G 19.1 3.4 7.1
Edvinas Ruzgas G 14.1 2.6 0.6
Zvonko Buljan F 13.1 10.7 2.3


SMU top players             PPG   REB  AST

Mouhammad Faye F 14.8 5.3 0.5
Paul McCoy G 14.3 5.3 2.8
Derek Williams G 13.3 2.5 2.8

The top players from each school matchup pretty well and the first school to stop one of the top three should be able to win this game.