In what was one of the wildest tournaments in recent memory, we finally have a title game set. San Diego State will battle UConn to secure their place on top of college basketball’s summit.
Just like we all predicted right?
Still, despite the unlikely pairing, both teams have earned their way here.
UConn has had one of the most dominant runs in recent memory. They have won each NCAA tournament game by at least 13 points, the seventh team to accomplish that feat, and six of the previous teams that came into the title game with a dominant run- won it all. The Huskies are 16-0 in games played against non-conference opponents.
San Diego State got to the title game with one of the most dramatic moments. The Aztecs trailing by one forces a stop with just over 6 seconds left junior, Lamont Butler dribbles full court and hits a mid-range jumper to win the game at the buzzer. It was quite the moment.
Now the Aztecs have a tough test to continue to make history. UCONN comes in as a 7.5 point favorite and -405 on the ML at Betfred Sportsbook.
It’s the largest point spread in a national championship game since 1999 when Duke got upset by... you guessed it, UConn in the Huskies first title run.
Can San Diego State win their first national championship in school history? Here is the formula on how the Aztecs can upset UConn.
Rebounding the Basketball:
The Aztecs are one of the few teams with the size and depth in the front court- to hold their own against UConn. The Aztecs 12 offensive rebounds against FAU is probably what got them here. Their work on the glass helped them upset No. 1 overall seed Alabama.
But UConn is another animal.
The Huskies rank second in the country in offensive rebounding percentage due to their front court duo of 7-foot-2 Donovan Clingan, Adama Sanogo, and athletic wing Andre Jackson. UConn is hard to stop as it is and you can’t give up second chance points, because often the Huskies use their second chance points and turns them into open threes.
The Aztecs are going to be able to force misses. Their ability to clean up the defensive glass is going to be a big factor.
Keep the Lines Moving:
UConn is the deepest team in the tournament, the Aztecs are right behind them. The Aztecs are going to need to play with more energy than the Huskies. Balls to the wall every second on the floor.
The good news, they can do that.
The Aztecs play a nine deep rotation. Everyone is always in sync. Everyone can defend their ass off and rebound the basketball. The Aztecs are going to be able to show many different looks. When something is not working for the Aztecs, they can adjust.
Giving the Huskies different looks will help prevent these scorching hot scoring runs UConn has made during the tournament.
The Aztecs rank fourth nationally in the fewest 10-0 runs allowed per EvanMiya.com. That trend is going to have to continue.
Pressure the Ball, turn them over, Make it a Rock Fight:
The one thing that killed UConnin conference play was turnovers. Tristen Newton is okay, but I think the Aztecs have an advantage in the point guard department. They need to pressure Jackson and Newton everytime they have the ball. The
teams that sag on Jackson and reacting on his move to make a play- that’s not going to work. He is too big and too fast.
But if you attack them on the defensive end, then you can make it interesting. The Aztecs have the best perimeter defender and post defender the Huskies have seen all tournament. Nathan Mensah is a two time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. He is going to be Sanogo’s toughest test down low. The Aztecs are going to make life hell for him to get post touches. The Aztecs will have a chance to win this game if it is in the 60’s. UCONN is 0-4 in games decided by five or less and the Aztecs are 5-1 in the same metric. SDSU is going to have to muddy the game as much as possible.
Saturday night was "the Matt Bradley game" but this has to be the Trammell game. UConn has the defenders to take Bradley away. Sorry Bradley, you aren’t getting 21 on Andre Jackson. Trammell was a 20 ppg game scorer at Seattle. Trammell had 21 against Bama. He is the Aztecs most diverse scorer. He can shoot threes and he has a solid floater and mid-range game. The Aztecs are going to need to hit tough contested shots to score against UCONN Trammell is the best tough shot maker.
Why the Aztecs will Win:
This game is going to get in the mud. The Aztecs are comfortable in that environment. If the Aztecs can keep this game under 65 possessions I think they will have a good shot to win. SDSU is holding opponents to shoot 17 percent from three during the tournament. FAU’s 40 percent shooting performance was an anomaly, and the Aztecs still won the game.
The Aztecs have the size, depth, and experience to hang around. Dutcher is one of the best game planners around. They need their guards Butler and Trammell to make big shots.
I think they are capable of doing it. This tournament has been full of upsets, so why not an upset in the championship to end it. The Aztecs held UCONN to 38 percent shooting, then forced a dozen turnovers.
With a little luck the Aztecs pull off a 60-58 win.
To get full odds on the entire NCAA Tournament visit Betfred Sportsbook
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