On Saturday we will learn a lot about the state of the Mountain West Conference race -- and how it may play out in the coming weeks -- as Colorado State (5-1) travels to Viejas Arena to take on San Diego State (6-1) on CBS. The Aztecs are the favorite to win the league and repeat as champs coming off a 30-win season, but Colorado State's handled its business early this season and looks like a potential disruptive darkhorse in the conference race.
Both teams have yet to be defeated in league play but that's only an impressive accomplishment for the Rams, who are 2-0 in MWC play. Saturday will be San Diego State's first conference game, and the first of a back-to-back between SDSU and CSU, with the second game coming on Monday.
Here's everything you need to know for the game.
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- When: Saturday, Jan. 2, 4 p.m. ET
- Where: Viejas Arena in San Diego, California
- TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
- OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)
San Diego State: San Diego State had one of the top offenses in college basketball last season that powered it to a 30-2 overall record and a potential No. 1 seed before the NCAA Tournament was canceled. Yet coach Brian Dutcher, with a reshaped roster, has done things differently this season: by winning with defense. The Aztecs have a defensive unit that rates 18th in adjusted efficiency at KenPom and has found immense success turning teams over and forcing miscues. Conversely, the team is doing a great job taking care of the ball, ranking second among MWC teams in turnovers committed per game.
Colorado State: We'll learn a lot about Colorado State on Saturday after a hot 5-1 start. It has faced just one team that currently owns a winning record -- Saint Mary's -- and the Gaels won by limiting the Rams to just a measly 33 points in a 20-point blowout. If Saint Mary's can do that to Colorado State, then it'll have its hands full against a more athletic and talented SDSU team that just beat that same Saint Mary's team 74-49 a week ago. Perhaps two consecutive, decisive wins over Fresno State this past week for the Rams will inspire some confidence moving into their most challenging matchup yet.
Game prediction, pick
I'd love nothing more than to go against the grain, but San Diego State has everything lined up here to capture a convincing win. It has home court advantage, an edge on defense that is likely to give the Rams fits, and shares a similar opponent in Saint Mary's that SDSU had zero trouble with and CSU got obliterated by. I'm taking the Aztecs and laying the points. They have way more firepower and I'm not sure Colorado State can keep this one competitive. Prediction: San Diego State 77, Colorado State 60
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