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San Diego State vs Utah Preview: Aztecs Return To Salt Lake City

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Aztecs make the return trip of a home-and-home series against the 16th ranked Utes.

Coach Steve Fisher talking with freshman point guard Jeremy Hemsley
Coach Steve Fisher talking with freshman point guard Jeremy Hemsley
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego State Aztecs vs 16/16 Utah Utes

Tip off: Monday, November 16, 7:30 p.m. MT

TV: ESPN2

San Diego State goes to Utah as the return part of a home-and-home series. San Diego State makes their first trip to Salt Lake City since the Utes joined the Pac-12 in 2011. Last year’s game ended in the Aztecs’ favor 53-49, which inevitably padded their resume going into March Madness with an at-large bid. The Utes only lost 7 times before going into the Pac-12 Tournament, and San Diego State was one of those losses.

Right now San Diego State has won six straight against the former Mountain West school and it's interesting to note that both teams lost in the 2015 NCAA tournament to eventual champion Duke. In this edition of the Aztecs against the Utes, it’s a marquee matchup that has March Madness written all over it in mid-November.

Players to Watch

Jeremy Hemsley

After Friday’s game against Illinois State, it’s clear that Hemsley is the guy that Steve Fisher was waiting and hoping for. Not only did Hemsley start and play 28 minutes, but he also led the team in assists (5) and points (20). His point total is the most points scored by a freshman starter in their debut game. He seems more aged than some of his teammates and that’s a good thing for a team looking for leadership and points.

Dakarai Allen

Allen reintroduced himself to The Show on Friday night. Prior to Friday night, in his two years at SDSU he had averaged 11.3 minutes and 2.55 points per game. Against Illinois State he played 28 minutes and scored 16 points. The junior had thoughts of transferring to greener pastures, but committed to San Diego State after getting assurance from the coaching staff to his progress. If Allen is committed to his success and the team’s, Coach Fisher will make sure that Allen sees those minutes.

Malik Pope

In the 21 minutes that Pope played on Friday, he only scored 1 point, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist. During the loss against Duke, Pope only scored 6 points and 2 rebounds. Pope has got to improve upon that, and he will have plenty of time during the season to better that. Allen might’ve stolen some of Pope’s thunder, but Pope must step up against the 16th best team in the nation immediately for both his team and his draft prospects.