NCAAB Odds, Pick for Colorado State vs San Diego State
Tony Ding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Micah Parrish (3) of the San Diego State Aztecs basketball team.
Colorado State vs San Diego State Odds, Pick
The Mountain West Conference race is heating up. Eight of the 11 teams are within striking distance to win the regular season crown.
As far as my lifetime goes, this year has been among the most competitive Mountain West seasons, and the jam-packed leaderboard confirms that.
This is the second meeting between Colorado State and San Diego State. In that one, the Rams won 79-71 in Fort Collins, controlling most of the game, even if the Aztecs made things interesting toward the end.
The Colorado State Rams are alive and well.
They've won four straight, with a 19-5 record overall. They're arguably a top-20 team nationally, but winning at San Diego State would considerably help their conference championship and NCAA tournament hopes.
Behind stud point guard Isaiah Stevens, the Rams boast a dangerous motion offense, leveraging Stevens' smart passing and playmaking on secondary actions to rank second in the conference in 2-point shooting percentage (56%). The Rams can really score.
On the other end of the court, Colorado State boasts an impenetrable interior defense behind Joel Scott and Patrick Cartier, among other big men. The Rams rank fifth nationally in at-the-rim PPP allowed (1.04) and tops in the conference in 2-point shooting allowed (48%).
Colorado State is a good interior-based basketball team. But all four of the Rams' conference losses have been on the road, which might sink them on Tuesday.
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The Aztecs also enter Tuesday's matchup a game behind Utah State in the Mountain West Conference standings, and they've got a huge opportunity on Tuesday.
You can't fault San Diego State for losing to Colorado State in Fort Collins. It's a tough place to play, and the Aztecs hung tough for as long as they could.
Winning road games in the MWC hasn't been easy this year. For example, SDSU blew a game on the road against Nevada. The Aztecs controlled most of the game but melted late, proving again the difficulty of winning on the road.
In the Aztecs' last meeting with Colorado State, they took their first lead with about seven minutes left but failed to hang on for the win. The crowd was a real factor, as the rowdy fans shut down any Aztec momentum.
San Diego State's defense is still the best in the league, ranking first among Mountain West teams in defensive efficiency and eFG% allowed during conference play. The Aztecs are particularly good at closing out on shooters and defending in isolation and transition.
This matchup has great guard play, superstar big men and two teams competing for Mountain West regular-season supremacy.
Still, San Diego State is in a good home-court revenge spot, and I think the Aztecs put together a big effort here.
Like Colorado State, the Aztecs have only lost on the road in conference this season. They continue to handle business at Viejas Arena, and winning home games is crucial in league play.
The key to this matchup is San Diego State's home-court defense overwhelming Stevens while the offense makes shots against a Colorado State defense that ranks 323rd nationally in High Quality 3s Allowed, per ShotQuality.
I'm banking on the Aztecs executing that game plan and earning a monster home-court revenge win over a conference rival while covering the two-possession spread.
Pick: San Diego State -5
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