The BYU Cougars came into the 2014-15 college basketball season unranked, despite probably deserving a spot in the preseason ranking based on their returning players, schedule and results from last season. So far, they have a 3-0 record, but face off against the No. 16 ranked San Diego State Aztecs in the EA Sports Maui Invitational on Monday, Nov. 24 at 11:30 PM EST on ESPN2.
San Diego State lost star player Xavier Thames to graduation, but are possibly the most sound defense in all of college basketball. So far this season, the Aztecs have not allowed an opponent to score more than 58 points. This number includes a win over the No. 25 Utah Utes in which SDSU held the Utes to just 49 points.
The most interesting aspect of this matchup is that the Cougars and the Aztecs play a completely different style of basketball.
The Cougars boast one of the most explosive offenses in college basketball, averaging more than 95 points per game. Tyler Haws and Chase Fischer both average more than 15 points per game, and this team has eight players averaging at least five points per game. Haws and Fischer could both go for 30 points on any given night, and opposing teams have no idea what type of offensive production the rest of the Cougars might give.
On the other hand, the Aztecs don’t have a go-to star player. There are five players on this team more than capable of stepping up and leading the team to victory. Head coach Steve Fisher switches out his players frequently to keep them alert and energetic, and this leads to an extremely deep team that doesn’t rely on one or two players for success.
BYU likes to score the ball, and San Diego state struggles to find the basket at times. Expect this game to be gritty and won from outside the arc. Both of these teams will make the 2015 NCAA Tournament; first one to 60 wins.
Prediction: SDSU 62, BYU 59