The No. 4 San Diego State Aztecs will attempt to continue their perfect season against a Utah State team that many predicted would run away with the Mountain West Conference on Saturday night. The Aztecs are a perfect 22-0 on the season and easily the biggest surprise of the 2019-20 college basketball season.
Utah State enters the game at 17-6 overall and a disappointing 6-4 in the Mountain West. The Aggies were considered one of the best mid-major teams entering the season but have failed to live up to the billing as they have struggled away from home.
The Aztecs are led by Washington State transfer Malachi Flynn, who is averaging 16.5 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game. San Diego State is once again one of the best defensive teams in the nation, ranking fifth in Kenpom’s adjusted defensive efficiency and fourth in the nation in points allowed per game at 57.2.
What seems to be lost in the shuffle is that the Aztecs are also very good on offense, ranking 16th in adjusted offensive efficiency, 22nd in effective field goal percentage and 27th in three-point percentage. They aren’t exactly the Virginia of previous seasons, but they are following the model.
Utah State may be disappointing in terms of preseason prognostications, but the Aggies are still a quality team. Sam Merrill (17.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists) is one of the most talented all-around players in the country, while sophomore forward Justin Bean (12.9 points, 10.3 rebounds) has established himself as the next up-and-coming star in a consistent program.
The Aggies are still ranked inside the top 50 in Kenpom, so the season is not lost. This is still a talented, quality team.
San Diego State is a five-point favorite at home, with the over/under set at 130.5.
Aggies Looking To Repay The Favor
San Diego State defeated Utah State by nine less than a month ago. Since then, Craig Smith’s group has gone 4-2 overall and 1-2 on the road. The Aggies are just 2-4 straight up on the road and 1-5 against the spread away from home.
Utah State has gone under in 12 of its 21 games overall and four of its six true road games. In their most recent games, the Aggies’ total has gone under six of nine times.
Hunting A Top Seed
Not only is San Diego State undefeated, but it is also destroying teams, with an average margin of victory of 17.8 points per game. Brian Dutcher’s group is 13-8 against the spread this season but just 3-7 ATS at home.
The Aztecs have gone over in 12 of 21 games this season, including six of their last eight games. In the history of this matchup, however, the total has gone under in six of the last seven games.
Follow The Feel-Good Story
Sometimes a wager is just too easy. San Diego State is the feel-good story of the season, while Utah State struggles on the road and has ultimately disappointed. The Aztecs’ suffocating defense will certainly be keying on Merrill, while the Aggies struggle to slow down what is an efficient San Diego State offense.
To me, this spread feels low by at least a couple of points. The fact that it has shrunk since opening is surprising. Fade the public and comfortably bet the Aztecs to cover. These teams combined for 145 in their previous matchup, so play the over.
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