The San Diego State Aztecs have upped their game in the NIT with dominant wins over IPFW and Washington, and now they face Georgia Tech out of the ACC (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) in the quarterfinals and one win away from heading to New York City for the NIT Final Four.
San Diego State faces a Georgia Tech team that will be tested coming from the ACC, and their most recent win was over No. 1 seeded South Carolina on the road. However, the Yellow Jackets are just 5-7 in road games this year, they had to travel cross-country and Viejas is expected to be sold out for this game Wednesday night.
Head coach Steve Fisher is aware that playing at home and not traveling is a big deal for his team.
"You sleep in your own bed that rather than flying on plane," Fisher told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "You have 12,000 fans cheering for you and against the other team. You have more mental preparation, both by the coaches and the players. Even though you get work done on the plane and you find ways to do it, it's an advantage for the team that doesn't have to fly - a huge advantage."
Not that Georgia Tech will be intimated playing in front of a large crowd as they are from the ACC, but their two NIT games were played in front of crowds fewer than 3,000 each.
The Yellow Jackets are a veteran team that starts four seniors and a junior and they are one of the nation's best offensive rebounding teams in the country and like to attack the basket for easy buckets. Rebounding will be a big deal in this game and could be a deciding factor. Georgia Tech has pulls down an average of 39 rebounds per game and 13.2 of those are on the offensive glass, and only five times all year have the Yellow Jackets been out rebounded.
The rebounding and second chance points should be a key point in who will win, but San Diego State is right there with Georgia Tech by averaging the same amount of boards per game and 11.75 on the offensive end.
Georgia Tech's offense has been slightly better than San Diego State all year, but the Aztecs are coming off a season high game against Washington where they scored 93 points in the win. They are led by third-team All-ACC guard Marcus Georges-Hunt who scores 16.7 points per game.
The Yellow Jackets score 74 per game compared to the Aztecs 69 and they have four players who average in double figures. However, Georgia Tech has not seen a defense as good as San Diego State who is third in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency category.
The Aztecs are a five-point favorite over the Yellow Jackets.