Know Your Opponent: Fresno State

Well, here we are again. Last time we saw Fresno State, the Aztecs were able to squeak out a 65-62 win on the road in the Mountain West Conference opener. Last time around, Steve Fisher warned his players that conference play would be far more intense than non-conference play. Do you think they’ll listen this time?

Ken Pomeroy Statistics

[table id=2 /]

Where the Bulldogs Struggle

The Bulldogs struggle to put the ball in the hole as they score a mere 96.2 points per 100 possessions (238th in Division I) and shot the ball at an effective rate of 44.0 percent (311st). That should cause major problems for Fresno against San Diego State’s stout defense.

Where they are the strongest

Fresno State loves to play hard contact defense, and that extends to the three-point line. They yield a mere 27.8 percent shooting clip from three-point land, which ranks sixth in the entire NCAAs.  That could be an issue for an Aztecs squad that only makes long balls 32.1 percent of the time and relies on it for a third of its shots.

Fresno State’s Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)

at No. 314 UC Riverside (39-30)
No. 117 Pacific (66-61)
at No. 161 Cal Poly (76-67)
at No. 151 Long Beach State (64-59)
NR San Diego Christian (84-49)
NR Sonoma St. (89-64)
No. 65 Wyoming (49-36)
No. 34 Nevada Las Vegas (64-55)

  • Losses

 at No. 89 Texas (55-53)
No. 151 Long Beach St. (69-61)
at No. 217 Southern Illinois (57-54)
at No. 104 Washington St. (59-50)
No. 46 Colorado (50-43)
No. 152 UC Irvine (58-51)
at No. 50 UCLA (91-78)
No. 23 San Diego St. (65-62)
at No. 28 New Mexico (72-45)
No. 140 Nevada (68-61)
at No. 70 Boise St. (74-67)
No. 16 Colorado St. (74-63)
at No. 135 Air Force (62-50)

Average Score, Fresno State vs. Top 75: Opponent 64.6, Fresno State 58.9 (-5.8)
Average Score, Fresno State vs. Top 76-150: Opponent 61, Fresno State 56 (-5)
Average Score, Fresno State vs. Top 151-250: Opponent 62.0, Fresno State 61.2 (-2)
Average Score, Fresno State vs. Top 251+: Opponent 47.7, Fresno State 70.7 (23)

Keys to the Game

The biggest key: The Aztecs need to remember how the last one was played. Fisher needs to have a good game plan that has them prepared for handling the Bulldogs’ defense and dependence on the 3 point shot. If the Aztecs can handle that, Viejas should prove favorable for the good guys.

Prediction

SDSU should handle this game. It really isn’t going to be close. SDSU wins in a big way 66-51.