San Diego State will welcome the University of Utah to Viejas Arena on Tuesday in its second game of the season. Utah is currently straddling the bottom end of the top 25 rankings and an early win against SDSU, ranked 16th in the AP Poll and 17th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, would all but guarantee them a spot.
The Aztecs are sitting comfortable in their slot, and a win against Utah would be a nice early statement from a team with Final Four aspirations. SDSU inserted itself into the Top 25 early last season after beating No. 20/18 Creighton and No. 25 Marquette back-to-back in the Wooden Legacy tournament. This time The Aztecs will be on the other side of things trying to stave off the hungry Runnin' Utes.
Utah is coming off of a 90-72 win against Ball State in its lone regular season game last Friday. They posted some strong shooting numbers, cashing in at a 59 percent rate from the field and 68 percent from deep. The starters provided the bulk of the production with 76 combined points and 25 of 35 total rebounds. That leaves just 14 points on 5-12 shooting from the Ute bench compared to 33 points on 14-23 shooting from the Aztec reserves.
Seven-foot Australian forward Jakob Poeltl led Utah in scoring with 18 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes, but converted only 8-16 free throw attempts. When Poetltl gets tired, head coach Larry Kristkowiak sends out his other 7-footer, Dallin Bachynski. Aztec forward Skylar Spencer blocked six CSUN shots last Friday, but Northridge didn't send out anyone taller than 6-foot-9.
The pair of 7-footers might grab some attention, but the best player on Utah's roster is senior guard Delon Wright. He covered every base of the stat sheet last Friday with 13 points, eight assists, four steals, four rebounds and three blocks in 29 minutes.
Wright averaged 15.5 points per game last season on his way to becoming Utah's first All-Pac 12 team selection in program history. His 56 percent shooting clip and 4.89 assists per game both ranked third in his conference, and his 1.3 blocks per game helped him earn Pac-12 All-Defensive first team honors. Delon is the younger brother of current Portland Trail Blazers' forward Dorell Wright.
Bleacher Report recently named Wright college basketball's 22nd best player. CBS Sports' Gary Parish has him listed has his 23rd best. Wright is a bigger guard standing in at 6-foot-5, so it will be interesting to see which Aztec defender matches up with him.
Call your boss on Tuesday morning and tell him you've come down with a bad case of Reflective Glaucoma, and that you just can't see yourself coming to work that day.
Prediction: SDSU 79 Utah 74