On Monday night, the Aztecs men’s basketball team has an opportunity to log a postseason resume building win against a power five team currently ranked just outside the top 25. For the Aztecs this is as close to a must win as there is.
With the current state of the Mountain West, the top tier teams, like SDSU, need to build a resume of good non-conference wins because there aren’t going to be any opportunities to log wins during the conference slate that the committee will deem resume worthy.
The Aztecs missed a big opportunity when they were dismantled at Gonzaga, but they have a great opportunity to rectify that against Cal and show the committee that they are a team deserving of being in the field of 68.
Players to watch for SDSU:
- Sophomore guard Jeremy Hemlsey is off to a blistering start, averaging 20 points per game and is the catalyst that gets the offense going.
- Trey Kell, Hemsley’s backcourt mate, is also off to fantastic start to the 2016-2017 season, averaging 18 points per game so far.
- Matt Shrigley, Malik Pope and Valentine Izundu, have all missed time with injuries so far this season, with Pope having yet to play a single minute. Shrigley is expected to play, with both Pope and Izundu being questionable. If all three can suit up that would go a long way in helping the Aztecs compete with the size and scoring that the Golden Bears have.
Players to watch for Cal:
- Ivan Rabb, who has yet to play this season due to the foot injury, but the 6’11” sophomore is expected to make his debut against the Aztecs. The forward is a projected lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft and will be a load for the Aztecs, especially if Izundu is limited or unavailable.
- Jabari Bird, who missed the Bears last game due to a back injury, is their main threat from deep, connecting on 40% of his shots from 3-point range last year.
- Charlie Moore, a talented freshman guard from Chicago, broke out for 38 points in the Bears last game against UC Irvine. While he won’t be counted on for that kind of production this game, with Bird and Rabb both playing, the Aztecs will still need to keep an eye on him as he could be a valuable secondary scoring option for Cal.
Matchup to watch:
Cal’s front court versus the undermanned Aztecs front court. If Izundu is limited, or gets into foul trouble, the Aztecs could have a tough time competing down low against the Cal front court. However, if Izundu can effectively contain Rabb, this game will come down to a battle between the guards which would favor the Aztecs as Hemsley and Kell makeup one of the most talented backcourts in the nation.
Monday, November 21st at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento California. Tip off is scheduled of 8pm.
How to Watch:
PAC 12 network. For fans in San Diego that don’t have the Pac 12 network, they can listen to the radio broadcast on 1090.