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San Diego State vs Wyoming Preview: Conference play begins

The 7-6 San Diego State Aztecs host the 7-6 Wyoming Cowboys in the opening game in Mountain West Conference play.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego State Aztecs vs Wyoming Cowboys.

Tip off: Wednesday, December 30, 7 p.m. PST

TV: CBS Sports Network

San Diego State opens up Mountain West conference play against the Wyoming Cowboys. The Aztecs are 7-6 in non-conference play and currently ride a rare 2-game losing streak. Most recently the Kansas Jayhawks capitalized on a struggling Steve Fisher-coached team which has already faced bad losses to  this season San Diego, Little Rock, and Grand Canyon.

Those losses don't include the "good" losses against Utah and West Virginia. Now with the past behind them the Aztecs have to pull themselves together and begin Mountain West play just like the Rocky Long-coached team did on the other side of campus.

The Aztecs and Cowboys find themselves at the same record, but it's clear the Mountain West is garbage this season.. The Cowboys only have one senior on their roster, Josh Adams, who provides most of their offense (25.5 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game). Their offense runs through him and junior guard Jason McManamen who’s having himself a nice start to the 2015-2016 season.

For San Diego State, despite their losses, Zylan Cheatham continues to improve. Against Kansas he led the team in points (12) and total rebounds (8). Overall, he is second on the team for points (8.8 per game) and plays the hardest, so far, for Steve Fisher. He’s playing like he’s got a chip on his shoulder, especially redshirtting last year, watching his teammates from the bench. Cheatham’s play will make Steve Fisher’s job easier as conference plays rolls along.

Jeremy Hemsley is leading the Aztecs with points scored, but it is apparent he has trouble with keeping the ball. Much like Winston Shepard in the 2014-2015 season, he leads the team in turnovers (33). If Hemsley can clean up his ball handling and his passing decisions, the Aztecs can better keep themselves competitive against Wyoming.

In this reiteration of Wyoming-San Diego State, it’s hard to see the real winning team. It’s clear that Wyoming has the one guy who will carry the team, but San Diego State still boasts one of the top defenses in the country. And for San Diego State, who will step up to the line and make a shot? If these guys can shoot for 40%, they can claim a victory at Viejas However, much like Mountain West football, conference play changes everything and it’s up to the Aztecs to earn themselves a winning-streak on to March.

Prediction: Wyoming 35, San Diego State 52