Stephen Vilardo’s Week 13 SuperWest Games to Watch

This weekend we will get a pair of games that could go a long way in deciding conference titles

Posted on February 1, 2023

  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

This weekend we will get a pair of games that could go a long way in deciding regular season conference titles.

In the Mountain West, San Diego State hosts Boise State in a big one. Saint Mary’s will host Gonzaga for a Round One the WCC showdown.

The final game we feature is round two between Nevada and New Mexico. Hopefully, this one at The Pit will come close to giving us the excitement we saw the first time those two met in Reno.

New Mexico at Utah State

Wednesday, February 1
7:30 pm PT, FS1

The Aggies are a deep team. They are one of just seven teams nationally that can claim five players averaging double figures in scoring.

Additionally, Utah State is getting 28.5 points per game from their bench, the 20th-most in the nation.

New Mexico also has depth in the scoring department as the Lobos are one of just two teams in the nation with three players averaging at least 15.5 points per game.

The trio of Jamal Mashburn, Jaelen House, and Morris Udeze is averaging 52.6 points per game, the highest combined mark for a Lobo trinity since 1979-80.

New Mexico may have the Mountain West’s top two scores, but historically the Lobos have struggled in Logan with just two wins in 18 all-time games at Utah State.

The Aggies are riding a ten-game winning streak inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Utah State leads the nation in three-point shooting at 42.1% while 31.1% of the points scored against New Mexico are off threes.

New Mexico is seventh in the nation with 17.6 made FTs per game.

Loyola Marymount at BYU

Thursday, February 2
6:00 pm PT, CBS Sports

In the race for third place in the WCC, Loyola Marymount has distanced itself slightly from the rest of the field. The Lions have a chance to widen that gap with a result in Provo.

BYU is 11th in the nation with a total rebound rate of 54.6%. The Cougars are coming away with 79.6% of opponents’ misses this season, the sixth-highest defensive rebound rate,

The Lions are securing their own misses at a rate of 27.2%, 175th in the nation.

LMU is much better at getting second-chance opportunities at home though, with an offensive rebound rate of 32.1% at Gerston Pavilion and just 21.5% on the road.

The first time the teams met this season, it was a five-point win for the Lions in Los Angeles.

In that game BYU dominated the paint, scoring all but 13 of their points in the lane as they held a 46-28 edge in paint points. LMU was +10 at the FT line and +4 on threes, however.

This season the Lions have gotten 36.8% of their points off three-pointers, ranking 36th in the nation while BYU opponents have scored 31.5% of their points on treys.

If the Lions can knock down shots on the road, they could get the season sweep.

Washington at No. 9 UCLA

Thursday February 2
6:00 pm PT, FS1

UCLA finds itself having lost back-to-back games for the second time this season and just the third time since the start of the last season.

The good news for the Bruins is the last time they suffered consecutive losses they turned around and rolled off 14 wins in a row.

The Bruins also get to return to Pauley Pavilion, where they have won 19 straight games, the longest active home winning streak in the nation.

Perhaps, the most important thing to get right is that UCLA will be hosting the Huskies.

UCLA owns a seven-game winning streak over Washington and has claimed 10 of the last 11 meetings.

Washington has lost five in a row at UCLA. Most recently the teams met on New Year’s Day and the Bruins rolled to a 74-49 win in Seattle.

The Bruins are allowing just 60.6 points per game on the season, the 13th-best scoring defense in the country.

In conference play, the Huskies are averaging just 69.2 points per game and that figure dips to 66.6 in their five games outside of Seattle.

UCLA leads the nation with an average of 9.8 more scoring chances per game than opponents while Washington is 343rd with 4.6 fewer chances per game than opponents.

Oregon at No. 5 ArizonaArizona football Pac-12

Thursday, February 2
7:30 pm PT, ESPN

Oregon will head to Arizona having won four of its last five games, a run that began with the Ducks’ win over the Wildcats in Eugene a few weeks ago.

During the five-game run, Oregon is allowing just 64.4 points per game and only one opponent reached the 70-point mark, with Stanford posting 71 in its win over the Ducks.

Oregon has had Arizona’s number for the past five years, winning eight of the last nine meetings and taking four of the last six games played in Tucson.

Arizona has also been hot since the loss in Eugene, having won four in a row.

The Wildcats also may have found their offense again as they scored 95 last time out against Washington. The 95 points are the most they have scored this season in a Pac-12 game.

Arizona also had an assist rate of 73.5% vs. the Huskies and is fifth in the nation with a helper on 66.3% of made FGs.

The first meeting saw the Ducks outscore Arizona 14-5 on second-chance points in a game that the teams combined to miss 74 total shots.

Oregon is 47th in the nation with an offensive rebound rate of 31.6%, whereas Arizona is 100th with a defensive rebound rate of 75.6%.

Washington State at USC

Thursday February 2
8:00 pm PT, FS1

Washington State knocked off the Trojans in Pullman in the first meeting of the season.

In that 10-point win, the Cougars shot 48.3% on three-pointers as they knocked down 14 of them for the game.

The Cougs shot just 65.0% on free throws but got to the stripe four more times than USC. The edge at the FT line and off three-pointers was +12 to WSU. In that win, 51.9% of Washington State’s scoring came off three-pointers.

On the season, WSU is 20th in the nation with 38.0% of their points coming from distance. Washington State’s ability to hit threes will again be key to this one.

USC is 12th in the nation with a blocked shot rate of 9.2% and the three-ball going down could negate that advantage for the Trojans. WSU makes a Pac-12-best 8.6 triples per game, the 10th most in the country.

Washington State is +3.0 per game on second-chance points, while USC is getting 27.8% of their offensive rebound opportunities.

Boogie Ellis earned Pac-12 player of the week honors for his 31-point performance against UCLA, but over the last four games he has started to find his rhythm.

The senior has averaged 19.3 points per game in the last four, up from 15.6 for the first 14 games of the season.

Despite the loss earlier in the season, USC has won 12 of the last 13 in the series and has won the last six meetings between the teams in Los Angeles.

Santa Clara at No. 12 Gonzaga

Thursday, February 2
8:00 pm PT, CBS Sports

Gonzaga has the big one with Saint Mary’s set for Saturday, but the Bulldogs would be wise not to look past Santa Clara.

The first meeting between the teams went down to the wire before the Zags secured the five-point win.

The Broncos have a legitimate scorer in Brandin Podziemski who went for a career-high 38 against his last time out. The first time these teams met the sophomore went for 17 points on 50.0% from the field.

Overall, Gonzaga has won 48 of the last 50 meetings between the two teams and 25 straight. The Broncos have not won in Spokane since 2007 with the Zags winning the last 14 over SCU at home.

GU leads the nation with 84.7 points per game and is averaging 90 per game at home. Santa Clara is allowing 76.5 points per game on the road, 250th in the country.

Boise State at No. 22 San Diego State

Friday, February 3
6:00 pm PT, FS1

This one is set to be a defensive battle and a showdown for control of the Mountain West. The last four times these teams have played, they have combined for 104.8 points per game.

The average margin in those four games has been 2.8 points. The Broncos are ninth in the nation in adjusted defense while the Aztecs rank 29th.

BSU is 13th in the nation in scoring defense allowing just 61.4 points per game and has yet to allow an opponent to reach 80 points in regulation.

San Diego State is allowing just 66.4 points per game and just 61.6 in games played at Viejas Arena.

Boise has won the last three meetings between the teams, but only one of the last six meetings in San Diego.

Oregon at Arizona State

Saturday, February 4
7:00 pm PT, ESPN2

This one features two teams heading in opposite directions.

The Ducks enter the week having won four of their last five while the Sun Devils are on a four-game slide.

Both teams have one earlier in the week with Oregon at Arizona and ASU hosting Oregon State.

Oregon needs this one to continue to salvage the season. Arizona State needs this one, along with the OSU game for that matter, to right the ship and regain the form they had in their opening 18 games.

In the last three games Oregon has had a blocked shot rate of 10.3%, raising their season rate to 8.9% and 16th in the nation.

Arizona State has also been good at rejecting shots, ranking 19th with a blocked shot rate of 8.7%. When ASU has not blocked them, they are still limiting opponents.

On non-blocked two-point field goals, opponents are shooting just 49.7% against ASU, the 14th-best defensive mark in the country.

No. 12 Gonzaga at No. 18 Saint Mary’s

Saturday, February 4
7:30 pm PT, ESPN

This will be a big one in Moraga.

The Gaels enter the week with a 10-game winning streak, the fourth-longest in the nation.

SMC will open with a home game against San Francisco while the Zags will host Santa Clara.

Contrasting styles will certainly be on display in the battle for control of the WCC. Gonzaga has the fifth-highest-rated adjusted offensive numbers while Saint Mary’s is fifth in adjusted defense.

The Gaels have limited opponents to 48.2% on non-blocked two’s, second in the nation. Gonzaga is shooting 61.2% on those shots, ranking 21st in the nation.

Gonzaga leads the nation in scoring offense while the Gaels are fourth in the nation in scoring defense.

Last season the home team won each game with the Zags claiming the rubber match in the Conference Title game. It looks like we could be in store for three meetings this season.

Round One may see the Gaels as the favorite as they come in with a little more positive momentum on the season. If this is the year the Gaels are to unseat the Zags, they must serve on the home floor.

Nevada at New Mexico

Tuesday, February 7
7:30 pm PT, FS1

This one is a week away so a lot of things can happen, but if Round Two is half as entertaining as the double-overtime thriller these teams played in Reno, then we are in for a fun one.

The Wolf Pack have won eight in a row in the series and 12 of the last 13.

Nevada is only turning the ball over on 15.7% of possessions to rank in the top 30 nationally. New Mexico is only forcing a turnover on 17.6% of possessions, 223rd in the nation.

Turnovers were a key factor in the first meeting and certainly could be again. Nevada outscored the Lobos 23-7 in turnovers in their win.

Both teams will get to the line and knock down FTs. Nevada scores 23.6% of their points off FTs, eighth most in the nation while UNM is scoring 21.6% of their points at the line.

—More from Stephen Vilardo—