The No. 18 San Diego State Aztecs (6-2, 0-0 Mountain West) will play host to the inconsistent Long Beach State 49ers (5-5, 0-0 Big West) on Wednesday night. Both teams are coming off embarrassing losses that they would rather forget and will use this game to try to build momentum for their upcoming schedule.
The Aztecs have suffered two losses in their last three matches and the hype built around this team is starting to diminish as their flaws are becoming evident. Offensively this team is challenged, ranking in the bottom quarter of all 345 eligible Division I teams in points, assists and field goal percentage.
However, the fortunes of the Aztecs should turn in the right direction as the 49ers are a poor defensive team, especially out on the wing. Long Beach implements a three guard starting lineup and they will struggle to body up the much longer backcourt of the Aztecs.
Both Dwayne Polee II and Winston Shepard should have a bounce back game after combining to shoot a dismal 3-15 from the field against Washington.
Skylar Spencer, who will never be confused as an offensive juggernaut, should have a big game on the offensive boards and get quality looks for easy put back opportunities on the much smaller front court for the 49ers.
But SDSU will have to limit another dynamic guard duo, this time in Mike Caffey and Tyler Lamb. The absence of Aqeel Quinn, due to injury, and his ability to lockdown the opposition's one or two guard was evidently missed in last Sunday’s loss and will be felt once again in this matchup.
Caffey is averaging 17.6 points per game on 50 percent shooting and 46.5 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Meanwhile, Lamb is throwing in 10.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 94.4 percent from the charity stripe.
The Aztec faithful should not be too worried of a repeat of Sunday’s game, being that the 49ers -- who are in the bottom third in the country in points allowed, blocks and rebounds per game -- are not made of the same defensive cloth as the Huskies. They are also prone to turn the ball over at a greater rate, averaging 15 per game.
That is not saying this game will not be close, as SDSU has showed time and time again that it allows inferior competition to hang around late in games.
San Diego State 60, Long Beach State 52