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NCAA Basketball March MadnessSan Diego State

5 San Diego State Players Who Must Deliver During the Sweet 16

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5 San Diego State Players Who Must Deliver During the Sweet 16

Steve Fisher San Diego State Huddle
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego State Aztecs have set themselves up for a regular season rematch against the Arizona Wildcats in the Sweet 16. Steve Fisher has coached this year’s team from what was supposed to be a transition year to a team ready to play in school’s second Sweet 16 appearance. On the roster there’s five guys who must bring their A-game to defeat the No. 1 team in the West, Arizona.

Matt Shrigley

Matt Shrigley Steve Fisher
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Shrigley

Matt Shrigley Steve Fisher
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Shrigley often comes in when Fisher needs his shooters on the floor. His 40 three-pointers made this season is only second to Xavier Thames’ 60. Clutch shots from beyond the arc will help keep the Arizona defense honest.

Dwayne Polee

Dwayne Polee New Mexico State
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Dwayne Polee

Dwayne Polee New Mexico State
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Polee has become the official sixth starter for San Diego State. His energy on the floor covers up the miscues of Winston Shepard. In Thames’ career game against North Dakota State, Polee was the only other scorer in double-digits (15). Polee’s ability to play smothering defense and create turnovers is going to be big against Arizona.

J.J. O'brien

JJ O'brien Kid n Play North Dakota State
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. O'brien

JJ O'brien Kid n Play North Dakota State
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The first time San Diego State and Arizona met J.J. O’brien had equal points with Xavier Thames (19). Hard to believe that now when O’brien hasn’t scored that many points ever since, while Thames has carried the team throughout the season. O’brien has to contribute on offense to take the pressure off of Thames.

Josh Davis

Josh Davis Defense JJ O'brien
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Davis

Josh Davis Defense JJ O'brien
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Davis played 33 minutes in the first meeting against Arizona and barely made a dent with two points and six rebounds. Over the season, Davis made himself the team’s leading rebounder averaging close to 10 per game. A Davis double-double would change Arizona’s gameplan.

Xavier Thames

Xavier Thames Score
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier Thames

Xavier Thames Score
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona’s defense will target Thames and force him to make mistakes. Thames has to play through it and trust that his teammates will step up when they need to. Thames is the reason why the Aztecs got so far, and why they continue to succeed in the NCAA tournament.