The Wildcats and Aztecs will each get a day off to rest and prepare for a Christmas night title bout from Honolulu, Hawaii, a match-up that pins two of the top teams out west together on Tuesday.
While the NBA‘s schedule seemingly dominates the holiday lineup, this late night showdown from Hawaii may be one that you don’t want to miss. Arizona and San Diego State are scheduled for a 9:30pm (EST) tip on Christmas night, as the Aztecs look to send the ‘Cats home with their first loss of the season.
Mark Lyons has been huge for Arizona head coach Sean Miller this season and his play on Sunday once again helped the Wildcats remain unbeaten through their first 11 contests of the season. As for SDSU, potential All-American candidate Jamaal Franklin leads the team in points, rebounds and assists, while the Aztecs have racked up 11 consecutive wins of their own after a season-opening defeat at the hands of Syracuse.
So, no it’s not a Christmas night battle of two unbeaten squads, but this championship contest does feature two west coast threats who each enter the holiday on an 11-game winning streak.
The Aztecs are more known for their play on the perimeter and San Diego State’s ability to defend and slow down Arizona’s forwards may ultimately hold the key. Syracuse’s infamous 2-3 zone and length bothered the Aztecs back on Nov. 11, as San Diego State mustered only 49 points in the defeat. That number remains a season-low for a team that is now averaging over 72 points per game (87th in the country).
San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher has quickly built the Aztecs’ program into a constant threat, not only in the Mountain West, but within the nation’s top-25. The opportunity to send home an undefeated Arizona squad who is currently ranked at No. 4 in the nation, may be just what SDSU needs to make their case with the New Year approaching.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS