Utah State vs. San Diego State Odds & Picks: Bet Queta & Aggies in MWC Tournament Final
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Neemias Queta
- San Diego State is a small favorite over Utah State in the Mountain West Tournament final on Saturday night.
- Utah State's Neemias Queta will be the best player on both ends of the floor, and should be the difference for the Aggies.
- Get our full breakdown and pick for Utah State vs. San Diego State below.
Utah State vs. San Diego State Odds
|Utah State Odds||+1.5|
|San Diego State Odds||-1.5|
|Moneyline||+110 / -135|
|Time||Saturday, 6 p.m. ET|
The Mountain West Conference Tournament was set up to be one of the most exciting in the nation, in a week full of incredible tournaments. It hasn't quite lived up to that billing yet, but Saturday's final should make up for that.
In mid-January, San Diego State travelled to Utah State for a two-game series. The Aggies took care of business, winning both games in their home gym. San Diego State responded to those losses and hasn't lost since, ripping off a 13-game winning streak.
The Aztecs look to be safely in the NCAA Tournament. A loss would put the Aggies squarely on the bubble. This game is a rematch of last year's title game, which ended with a Utah State game-winner at the buzzer.
It's a must win and a must watch, but all of these make a betting angle a bit murkier.
San Diego State
Last year was the best season for the Aztecs since the days Kawhi Leonard spent on campus. San Diego State was undefeated deep into February, losing just once in the regular season before dropping a heartbreaker to Utah State in the conference tournament title game.
Some of the core players from last year's Aztecs have returned and kept San Diego State atop the conference. Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel combine to score 30 points per game and fuel the Aztecs offense.
San Diego State's true viability as an NCAA Tournament darkhorse comes on defense. The Aztecs are an excellent defensive team, ranking in the top 15 of adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Brian Dutcher's defensive scheme, however, is tilted towards cutting off driving lanes and allowing 3-point attempts.
San Diego State ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation in 3-point rate allowed and percentage of opponents' points allowed from outside the arc. Against most teams, erasing easy baskets and forcing jump shots has been a recipe for success. To date, the Aztecs have been relatively lucky with opponents' 3-point shooting. Only three of San Diego State's 26 opponents have topped 40 percent shooting.
If that continues, San Diego State can play with and beat nearly anyone. If that luck swings the other way for a night, the Aztecs don't have the scoring to keep pace.
The Aggies could not be more precariously positioned on the bubble than they currently are. Bracketology-aggregator Bracket Matrix currently slots Utah State as the very last team in the field, although last night's win over Colorado State, which tipped off after 12:30 a.m. on the East Coast, likely makes the Aggies a smidge safer entering Saturday's game.
A third win over San Diego State, of course, would lock up the conference's automatic berth and send the Aggies not just to the NCAA Tournament, but would ensure they avoid the First Four as one of the final teams in the field.
The Aggies have earned a place in the NCAA Tournament, in large part, thanks to the play of junior center Neemias Queta. The Portuguese 7-footer has been a gamechanger on both ends of the floor.
Defensively, he's among the best rim protectors in college basketball. Queta ranks in the top five in the nation in blocks per game and block rate. He swallows up any driving guard and stymies opposing big men in the post. Colorado State learned that the hard way — Queta totaled nine blocks in the semifinals.
Offensively, the Aggies operate through Queta in the block. He's become Utah State's go-to-guy, leading the team in usage rate and scoring 18 points in both conference tournament games so far.
San Diego's State's ability to slow down Queta's scoring and attack him wisely on the defensive end will be a huge determining factor in this game.
Betting Analysis & Pick
If we're lucky, this game will be as good as last year's edition and also come down to the final possession. There's a guaranteed spot in the Big Dance on the line, plus a year of bragging rights and a banner in your home gym.
That doesn't help bettors looking for value here. If this game is as close as expected, I favor Utah State slightly. The Aggies have the best player in the game in Queta, who posted double-doubles in both prior meetings this season.
If the moneyline moves past even money, I'll take a shot there, otherwise it makes sense to take the points.
Pick: Utah State +1.5 or better