The San Diego State Aztecs (21-6, 11-3 Mountain West) will head up the California coast to take on the San Jose State Spartans (2-23, 0-13 MW) on Saturday night in the only meeting between the two squads this season.
Now this is a game only in namesake. You could try to make the argument that this could be a trap game for the Aztecs, with a Boise State rematch looming on the horizon. However, the Spartans are currently on a 15-game lose streak where their average margin of defeat is 21.6 points per game.
Throw in that SJSU has the second-to-last ranked scoring offense in all of NCAA Division I basketball -- comprised of 345 teams -- and SDSU has the No. 3 ranked scoring defense in the nation, it is clear that the odds are heavily stacked against the Spartans.
In the defense of San Jose State, it only has eight healthy players on the roster. Guard Jordan Baker and forward Frank Rogers were suspended indefinitely for violating team rules, and they were the second- and third-leading scorers at the time of their suspension. Add injuries to point guard Jalen James, center Leon Bahner and guard Devante Wilson and the Spartans are fortunate that the extended playing time for their remaining players has not lead to injury.
The Aztecs, meanwhile, have rattled off three consecutive victories toppling Wyoming, Colorado State and most recently defeating New Mexico in The Pit, surrendering only 50 points per game.
Against the Lobos SDSU piggybacked on suffocating team defense and offensive outbursts by guard Aqeel Quinn and freshman standout Malik Pope to smother New Mexico.
As both teams are trending in radically different directions, look for the Aztecs to try to put away the Spartans early and allow everyone to log a few minutes as they prepare for Boise State.
That does not mean this game will not be interesting for at least a half of play as SDSU has allowed less talented teams to hang around and cause a few scares among the SDSU fan base. Yet, with only eight players suiting up, the Spartans probably will not have the stamina to endure 40 minutes of a Fisher-led defense.