Dane Miller’s Arizona vs San Diego St Men’s Hoops Preview

The two West Coast powerhouses meet in one of the top nonconference showdowns of the year

Posted on November 22, 2022

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

The opening round of the Maui Invitational was a Litmus Test for Arizona.

There are very few teams in the nation that could withstand a full-court press all game and its opponent shooting 17-for-34 from three.

But the Wildcats got the job done and move on to face San Diego State in the Semifinal Game.

With national attention and comparisons to an Elite 8 matchup, the game between the two West Coast powerhouses is one of the top nonconference showdowns of the year.

I preview the matchup here and my pick and that of Stephen Vilardo appear at the bottom.

No. 17 San Diego State v. No. 14 ArizonaArizona football Pac-12

Tuesday, November 22
7:30 pm PT, ESPN

The Wildcats height and pace advantage were too much for Cincinnati to handle.

Azuolas Tubelis dropped 30 on the Bearcats and Oumar Ballo posted 21. If not for a 10-0 run in the final 90 seconds after Arizona put in its scrubs, Tommy Lloyd’s team would have won by almost 20.

But the win must be quickly set aside as San Diego State presents a substantially more formidable challenge.

The Aztecs have wins over BYU, Stanford, and Ohio State to start the year and won’t be intimidated by the Cats. And with the size in the frontcourt to reasonably match up with UA, San Diego State won’t be overpowered.

Aztec guard Matt Bradley scored 18 points in win over Buckeyes | Marco Garcia/AP

Brian Dutcher’s team is among the best in College Basketball at limiting turnovers and sharing the ball, a combination that is a recipe for success.

But the Aztecs have one glaring problem: rebounding. After four games SDSU is 294th in rebounds per game.

That’s a problem facing a Wildcat squad that leads the nation in scoring offense and is No. 1 in field goal percentage. Lloyd’s team tops the country in adjusted pace, too, per KenPom.

Securing offensive rebounds is probably high on Arizona’s game plan as well as dominating the defensive glass. Perimeter defense is likely another point of emphasis from Lloyd.

If San Diego State gets hot from deep the way Cincinnati did, the Cats might be in trouble.

But if Arizona limits turnovers and outrebounds the Aztecs, its combination of interior height, skilled backcourt, and pace should outlast SDSU.

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