California vs. San Diego State Prediction, Game Preview

    California vs. San Diego State prediction and game preview for when the No. 14-ranked Golden Bears will take on the Aztecs in the Las Vegas Invitational

    November 26, 2015

    The San Diego State Aztecs will travel to Las Vegas to take on the No. 14 California Golden Bears in the Las Vegas Invitational. Below is the California vs. San Diego State prediction and game preview.

    California vs. San Diego State Game Preview

    Game Broadcast

    Date: Thursday, Nov. 26
    Game Time: 11:59 p.m. ET
    Venue: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
    Network: FS1

    Why You Need To Care

    After collecting four straight wins at home in the Haas Pavilion, the Golden Bears are finally taking their talents on the road — specifically to “Sin City” for the Las Vegas Invitational.

    California is in its second year with Cuonzo Martin as head coach, but it hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since the 2012-13 season. The Bears have been winning by an average of 21 points per game this season.

    San Diego State enters this one at 3-2 on the season with its most recent game coming in the form of a 79-54 win against East Carolina on Monday.

    The Aztecs are led by head coach Steve Fisher, who’s in his 17th year with the program.

    Why California Will Win

    The Golden Bears know how to get to the rim and find high-percentage shots, and that’s what they’ll have to do against San Diego State. The Aztecs is holding opposing teams to 34.5 percent on two-point field goals, while California is shooting 60.1 percent on two-point attempts. The Bears will also have to crash the offensive glass. San Diego State has collected 157 defensive rebounds, which is the 11th-most in the country. Those could lead to some second-chance points and discombobulate San Diego State when trying to get into an offensive rhythm.

    Why San Diego State Will Win

    The Bears are shooting just 28.6 percent from three on the season, so the Aztecs are going to need to close out and get a hand up to force some contested threes. When California has proven to be cold from the perimeter, that’s when San Diego State can dare Martin’s team to knock down triples, but it might be too late by then. Other than that, the Aztecs need to keep doing what they’re doing and box out on defense to make sure the Bears don’t get any extra possessions.

    Players Who Matter

    California guard Tyrone Wallace is leading the team with 20.3 points per game, but he’s also getting it done in other areas. The senior guard is averaging 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game as well. A big game from him would go a long way in taking the neutral-site matchup. If Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb can come up big near the basket, California will be in good shape.

    San Diego State needs freshman Jeremy Hemsley to mature quickly in this one. The freshman guard leads the team with 13.6 points per game on 51 percent shooting. He’s also knocking down 47.1 percent of his three-point attempts. He’ll need to pack his stat line a little more in this one though — not just score. Sophomore forward Malik Pope has to pull down more than the 4.2 rebounds per game than he averages. He’s playing 21.6 minutes per game, and that won’t get it done against California.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    California is the favorite, but the Aztecs could very easily make it a ballgame because of the Bears’ struggles from the perimeter so far this season. The Bears will find their way to the rim and Wallace will lead everyone in scoring. The Aztecs won’t be able to convert enough opportunities to keep the Bears from improving to 5-0.

    California vs. San Diego State Prediction

    Robert Judin:
    California 76, San Diego State 71

    Jordan Cornette:
     California 73, San Diego State 72

    Line: California -4

    MORE:Power 12 College Basketball Rankings, Week 3


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