San Diego State 2009 NIT Tournament Preview
San Diego State Aztecs -
Mountain West Conference (23-9, 11-5)
Big Wins: 1/10 Utah (72-63), 3/12 at UNLV (71-57), 3/13 vs BYU (64-62)
Bad Losses: 12/10 at Arizona (56-69), 1/14 at Wyoming (79-83), 2/21 at New Mexico (49-75)
Coach: Steve Fisher
Probable San Diego State Starters:
Richie Williams, Senior, Guard, 7.2 ppg, 3.6 apg, 2.1 spg
Kyle Spain, Senior, Forward, 14.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Lorrenzo Wade, Senior, Forward, 14.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.8 apg
Billy White, Sophomore, Forward, 8.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Ryan Amoroso, Senior, Forward, 7.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Key San Diego State Roleplayers:
Mehdi Cheriet, Junior, Forward, 4.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
D.J. Gay, Sophomore, Guard, 6.5 ppg, 1.7 apg
Tim Shelton, Freshman, Forward, 8.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Matt Thomas, Senior, Guard, 2.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Why The Aztecs Can Surprise:
San Diego State only allows 59.8 points per game. They will not block a lot of shots, although forwards Billy White and Lorrenzo Wade will on occasion, but they play pretty solid defense on every play. And much of the time the opposition will not even get a shot off. Statistically speaking, Richie Williams is the best defender in Mountain West Conference history and this year he averages 2.1 steals per game. The team as a whole averages over eight per contest.
Williams forces just as many turnovers as he commits and that is important for a point guard. The Aztecs will almost always get more opportunities than their opponents because of their great turnover margin and for a team that does not shoot all that well the extra possessions are quite nice.
Why The Aztecs Can Disappoint:
Heading into the year San Diego State expected to depend on Wade for just about everything. During the 2007-2008 campaign he averaged 14.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. However, this year he has been slowed by injury and illness. When he is at full strength Wade is a dynamic scorer and the leader on the floor. But he has not been at full strength very often this year. The Aztecs have won games without him, but they are a much, much more dangerous team when he is ready to play.
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Who To Watch:
Wade and Williams are just two of the stars on this team. The third is second leading scorer Kyle Spain. The 6-5 senior is a great catch and shot guy and knocks down nearly two three-pointers per game. And he is also a solid defender and the team’s best rebounder. His versatility makes him extremely difficult to guard. Add White, Tim Shelton, Mehdi Cheriet and Ryan Amoroso to the mix and the SDSU frontcourt is very deep, experienced and talented. But despite the talent in the frontcourt, it is shooting guard D.J. Gay who might end up being the most important player on the team during the tournament. Gay is the best three-point shooter among the guards and he has to hit his shot to clear up space in the paint for the slashers and post players. His scoring has been inconsistent, but the Aztecs cannot win without him. In fact, in every San Diego State loss this season, Gay has failed to score in double figures.
San Diego State By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.7 (170th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.8 (19, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.7 (120, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (82, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (177, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.2 (120, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.1 (125, 6)
Rebound Margin: 2.3 (102, 4)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (185, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 2.2 (57, 4)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to St. Mary’s
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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