There are two games this evening on the Mountain West hoops slate. First up is the San Diego St. Aztecs traveling to Tucson, Ariz., to take on the No. 23 Arizona Wildcats. This game is on Fox Arizona Plus or if you live in San Diego it is locally on channel 4 with a tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET. San Diego State is 5-1 on the year with their only loss coming to the Baylor Bears who have now moved into the top 10 of both the coaches and AP poll. The best win on the year for the Aztecs is a home overtime win against the Long Beach St. 49ers, and for those scoffing at the win over Long Beach State they did beat then-No. 9 ranked Pittsburgh Panthers on the road and are the favorite in the Big West. Who knows that could be a conference game in a few years. Arizona's best win comes against the St. John's Red Storm at Madison Square Garden, but Arizona also lost to Mississippi State that same weekend.
Arizona comes into this game as a seven-point favorite, but they will be without freshman Sidiki Johnson who was suspended for violation of team rules. Johnson was a top-100 recruit and was to help shore up a weak Arizona front court, but that may not been an issue as San Diego State's front court has been depleted with the departed Kawhi Leanord. San Diego State could be without Jamaal Franklin who broke his nose when taking a charge, but he is waiting for a special mask for him to wear and there is a chance that it may not arrive in time for tonight's game. Other injuries for San Diego State include James Rahon (broken foot) and Tim Shelton (knees). However, the potential loss of Franklin could be huge since he is averaging 18 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, but head coach Steve Fisher will not take injuries as an excuse if they lose.
Here is Arizona head coach Sean Miller on San Diego State and his own Arizona team:
"To this point, one of the things that has hurt us - even in our wins - is our team's ability to guard the ball, not get split, not give up dribble penetration," Miller said Monday at his weekly news conference. "It wasn't Mississippi State's size advantage, it was more of their guards taking turns on dribble penetration."
"They're probably not as talented or as experienced as they were last year - and I say that just because, if you look, they were close to being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament last year," Miller said. "But looking at some of the guys that have taken over and some of the transfers, a player that plays at San Diego State is in his third year of college. Their experience is a little bit deceiving.
"They just have a very good system and style of play that fits who they have. This is going to be a great challenge for us and an opportunity to beat just an excellent team in McKale."
Most people are picking Arizona to win this game as is AccuScore and it predicts Arizona to win 73.2 to 64.8
The other game tonight is the Colorado Buffaloes traveling to the Air Force Falcons, that game is at 9 p.m. ET on The mtn. Air Force is 3-0 on the year but they have played the likes of Army, VMI and Western State, and Air Force is looking for their first road win of the year. Colorado is not much better sitting at 2-2 at least they have played Maryland and Wichita State who are above average teams within their league.
Air Force is led by Michael Lyons who is their only player to average double-figures at 17 per game and he also has averaged 6.3 rebounds per contest. He is the player that Colorado will need to slow down in tonight's game. After Lyons, Air Force has five players who averaged 7.7 points or more per game, so they have some scoring depth that could strike at anytime.
On the Colorado side Carlon Brown should be a familiar face as he transferred from Utah in 2009 and is seeing his first action for Colorado after sitting out the 2009-10 season season due to transfer reasons. Brown is also the Buffs best player and is putting up 16.3 points per game, but unlike Air Force Colorado has two other players who score double-figures per game in Austin Dufault who averages 13.5 and Andre Roberson who averages 10.3 points and 11 rebounds per game.
AccuScorehas Air Force the favorite in this game and predicts a final score of 67.1 to 64.4.
Treat this post as your open thread as well to discuss tonight's games.