Last night, Utah State, the 7th seed in the Mountain West upset the 2nd seed and bubble team Boise State in the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals. San Diego State defeated Fresno State yesterday to continue their now 7-game win streak. The Aggies and Aztecs both advanced to the MWC semifinals, which will be played tonight.
Utah State simply out shot the Broncos, making 14 threes off of 25 attempts. BSU also shot 25 threes, though only made 10. Turnovers were about equal for both teams, though Boise State played better defense and out rebounded the Aggies. Utah State was led by Sam Merrill, who scored 28 points, dished out 5 assists, and hauled in 5 boards. For Boise State, guard Lexus Williams had similar stats to Merrill, with 24 points, 5 dimes, and 4 rebounds.
For San Diego State, they defeated Fresno State by double digits, in a terrible three-point shooting game for both teams. Both programs were under 24% from behind the arc. Trey Kell of SDSU had 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Despite a bad shooting night the Aztecs are still the hottest team in the conference.
1 Nevada vs. 5 San Diego State, 9 PM ET, CBS Sports Network
These two teams have split the season series between each other. In the first meeting, Nevada won in a blowout. Though in the second contest, San Diego State won by 5. In the past 7 games, the Aztecs have been red hot, defeating all of their opponents, and having wins over the Wolfpack and Boise State.
Nevada is a bubble team, and if they do not win tonight, it’s quite possible they will still be dancing. The Wolfpack does not have a great resume, though the team has wins over Rhode Island, Davidson, and have defeated Boise State twice. Caleb Martin is leading a top 20 scoring offense, getting 19 points a game. Besides a great offense, Nevada’s defense and rebounding is nothing to be proud of. The Wolfpack are 127th in rebounding and 174th in points allowed.
San Diego State ranks in the top 100 for points, rebounds, assists, and points allowed, though none of those four stats are in the top 50. Four players for the Aztecs score 10 through 13 points per game, so there isn’t a true scoring leader for SDSU.
Tonight’s game will be a battle, as both teams are fighting for their life. If Nevada loses, I don’t think the team will be completely comfortable on Sunday morning. San Diego State is in a must-win mode. They have been for the past four weeks.
3 New Mexico vs. 7 Utah State, 11:30 PM ET, CBS Sports Network
The New Mexico and Utah State match up isn’t as anticipated as the other semifinal, though this one should be intriguing to watch as well. The two programs also split their season series.
The Lobos are on a six game win streak, with a win over the Aggies in that time. The team is great at scoring and sharing the ball, though their defense and rebounding is some of the worst in the country. New Mexico allows 78 points per game and only gets 31 rebounds a game. Their offense, though, scores 82 points per game. The team can share the ball, with 7 players scoring over 9 points per game.
Utah State has not had an impressive season, though they upset Boise State last night, and look to keep the hot hand going and defeat New Mexico tonight as well. The Aggies are being carried by Sam Merrill and Koby McEwen, who average a combined 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists per game.
New Mexico is favored by 3.5 and looks to win this game and go on to the MWC Championship on Saturday.
The Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship is on Saturday at 3 PM ET on CBS.