How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Sunday, 11/19/22
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT
Radio: Huskies Gameday App, Sports Radio KJR
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Betting Line: Washington Huskies +8
San Diego State Aztecs 2023-24 Statistics:
Points For per Game: 78.8 ppg (91st)
Points Against per Game: 67.0 ppg (106th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.5 (53rd)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 90.5 (9th)
Strength of Schedule: 81th
San Diego State Key Players:
G- Lamont Butler, Sr. 6’2. 205: 9.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.3 apg, 36.8% FG, 30.8% 3pt, 58.3% FT
The Huskies once recruited Butler but moved on and he ended up closer to home at SDSU where he made a buzzer beater in the Final Four last year. Butler is a top defensive player that has finished top-90 nationally in steal rate each of the past two seasons but is only a so-so shooter. His assist rate has improved the last 2 years while his turnover rate dropped so he is becoming much more of a point guard than a combo guard.
G- Micah Parrish, Sr. 6’6, 195: 11.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 51.7% FG, 50.0% 3pt, 57.1% FT
The former Oakland transfer was more of a role player last season but has gotten off to a career best offensive start hitting 8/16 3’s. He has pretty consistently been around 35% every year so he’s likely due to cool off a bit. Parris is oversized for a 2-guard and also is a really good defensive rebounder for a 6’6 player of any position.
G- Reese Waters, Jr. 6’6, 212: 16.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 51.2% FG, 50.0% 3pt, 100.0% FT
You might recognize him as Reese Dixon-Waters who was one of USC’s better players last season and has taken a leap at SDSU. Like Parrish, he has been on fire from deep having made 9/18 shots from deep so far. That’s not totally crazy as he shot 46% as a sophomore but then turned around and shot 30% as a junior. It seems realistic though that he will be a 14+ points per game scorer in the MWC.
F- Elijah Saunders, So. 6’8, 225: 7.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.8 apg, 44.0% FG, 18.2% 3pt, 100.0% FT
As a true freshman last year Saunders barely played at all but has elevated into a starting role at the power forward spot. He has taken more 3’s than 2’s for his career which isn’t great for SDSU given his percentages but technically stretches the floor. He has been fantastic on the defensive end so far though with above average block, steal, and rebound rates.
F- Jaedon LeDee, Sr. 6’9, 240: 25.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 61.4% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 77.1% FT
What a leap so far for LeDee. He started out at Ohio State then transferred to TCU and never averaged more than 6 points per game at either stop. Last year he came off the bench as a solid contributor to put up 8 points and 5 rebounds per game. Now he is the featured player on this SDSU squad and is 4th in KenPom’s player of the year calculations. He’s playing almost twice as many minutes as last year and shooting 67% on 2’s while drawing 7.6 fouls per 40 minutes. He also had never made a 3-pointer before this season (0/16) but is 3/9 so far. If we see the same ref crew we did on Friday then every Husky defender may foul out against LeDee.
It was a dream season last year for San Diego State who as a #5 seed took down the 4th, 12th, and 17th ranked teams at KenPom en route to a loss in the national title game against UConn. That run included wins by 1, 1, 3, 6, and 17 points. The Aztecs finished 14th at KenPom so they were clearly a good team but it’s fair to say they were a little lucky to wind up 2nd in the tournament. Then they lost key contributor Keshad Johnson to Arizona and leading scorer Matt Bradley ran out of eligibility.
San Diego State hasn’t missed a beat though. Their one loss came at BYU who rank top-20 in the computer metrics right now. The Aztecs were deep last year going with a 9-man rotation where no one played more than 27 minutes per game and they returned 5 of those players plus added an impact transfer in USC’s Reese Waters. We look up now and they rank almost exactly the same at KenPom as at the end of last year.
The Aztecs have been getting it done primarily on the defensive end where they’re top-ten in adjusted defensive efficiency. They’ve stolen the ball on 13% of defensive possessions with an extremely long and athletic starting group that includes 4 players between 6’6 and 6’9. That will make with an interesting showdown against Washington that can similarly match them in size due to their 6’6, 6’7, and 6’8 wing trio.
Otherwise, SDSU is merely very good across the board. They rank between about 80th and 110th nationally in almost every defensive category. There won’t be any easy shots for the Huskies and the best chance to keep pace with SDSU may be to once again try to continually drive to the basket and attempt to draw fouls.
On offense the Aztecs have preferred to get the ball inside. All of their bigs are shooting at least 57% from the paint including the ridiculous efficiency of LeDee so far. They’ve taken at least 23 free throws per game in all of their wins so Washington will have to quickly try to figure out a way to defend without fouling which hasn’t been their strong suit so far.
The outside shooting has been a mixed bag. Three major contributors are all shooting at least 50% on 2+ attempts from deep per game. (That includes Seattle transfer Darrion Trammell who missed the opener with an injury and has been coming off the bench since his return after starting all last year). The rest of the team is shooting a combined 19.5%. Washington has to keep track of who the shooters are and let the right guys open at the right times. The Huskies’ 3-point defense has been one of the best in the country so far and we’ll find out whether that is sustainable.
Washington got a very badly needed win over Xavier on Friday night which largely negates the home loss to Nevada. It’s likely that both of those teams, plus San Diego State, all end up making the NCAA tournament. Finding a way to win again today would greatly increase the odds that Washington is that type of team as well.
I just haven’t seen enough from Washington’s offense to think that they are going to be able to score consistently against this Aztecs squad. They badly need Moses Wood to regress to the mean in a positive direction and hit something like 4/7 from deep or else they could be left in the dust.
My record this year: 3-1 Straight Up, 1-3 Against the Spread
Washington Huskies- 58, San Diego State Aztecs- 70