Looking to match their longest winning streak of the season, Utah travels to California for tonight's game against the Aztecs. San Diego State is coming off a 68-61 loss to UNLV Saturday night, while Utah defeated Wyoming 62-60 a week ago. Both Utah and the Aztecs are 2-4 in conference play this season, though San Diego State had been favored to win the conference.
The Aztecs have struggled this season and could be without Mohamed Abukar, their second leading scorer, as he's doubtful for tonight's game. Abukar averages 15.7 points per game and his absence could hinder an already deflated San Diego State team. However senior guard Brandon Heath, the leading scorer for the Aztecs with 19.2 points per game, is a good enough player to carry the Aztecs to victory.
While the Aztecs have struggled in conference play, their offense hasn't. San Diego State shoots 48% from the field and averages 74 points per game. Though they only shoot 38% from three point range, Utah's lax defense from behind the arc is a concern. If Utah is going to have any shot at winning on the road, three point defense will be key. Hell, defense will be key, because if the Aztecs can find their shots, they might be able to overcome the loss of Abukar.
Personally, I think Utah needs Luke Nevill to continue his improvement if they're going to win. If he's held to 10 points or less, Utah will probably struggle. Offensively though, they should go toe-to-toe with the Aztecs, as SDSU's defense isn't anything special.
The last time these two teams played, Utah won on the road 67-65. The win, though impressive, really did nothing to help their season, as the Utes ended the year with losses to Colorado State and Air Force at home. However this season a victory will go along way toward bringing the Utes back to respectability, even though I would probably sitll have my doubts about this team.
This should be a close game and I hope that means the Utes don't revert back to their old ways. Utah has yet to win a road game this season and I'm not sure that changes tonight. While I want to pick Utah, they've still yet to prove to me they're capable of winning a road game. And while San Diego State is not the team they were a year ago, they still have talent and I expect that talent to be on display tonight. I'm conflicted on my feelings about this game, as I think Utah can win, but still feel they're due for a loss. I'll go with San Diego State winning a close one.