2014 NCAA Tournament
West Regional Semifinal
Honda Center – Anaheim, California
#4 San Diego State Aztecs vs #1 Arizona Wildcats
Thursday, March 27, 2014, 10:15 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Arizona -6
Current Line: Arizona -8
Opening Total: 121
Current Total: 121 1/2
Opening Money Line: Arizona -265 / SDSU +225
Current Money Line: Arizona -370 / SDSU +310
The #1 seed 32-4 Arizona Wildcats meet the #4 seed 31-4 San Diego State Aztecs in the West Regional Semifinals Thursday night in Anaheim. The winner will play either #2 seed Wisconsin or #6 seed Baylor in the Regional Final Saturday.
San Diego State won the Mountain West regular season title with a 16-2 record. The Aztecs lost to New Mexico 64-58 in the Mountain West Championship game. The loss snapped a 6 game winning streak for the Aztecs. San Diego State escaped with a narrow 73-69 victory over #13 seed New Mexico State in the second round and then beat #12 seed North Dakota State 63-44 in the third round.
Arizona won the Pac 12 regular season title with a 15-3 record. The Wildcats were upset by UCLA 75-71 in the Pac 12 Championship game, but the Wildcats were locked into a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament whether they won or lost that game. Arizona beat #16 Weber State 68-59 in the second round and beat #8 seed Gonzaga 84-61 in the third round.
Arizona leads the series against San Diego State 22-7. Since 1986, Arizona has won 8 of the last 10, including 2 straight games. The two schools were both in the WAC before Arizona and Arizona State joined the then Pac 10 in the late 1970’s. Arizona won at San Diego State 69-60 November 14. The Wildcats lead by as many as 14 in the second half but the Aztecs pulled within 4 with less than 2 minutes to go.
San Diego State is coached by Steve Fisher. The Aztecs have losses to Arizona, at Wyoming, and New Mexico twice. San Diego State has key wins over UC-Riverside, College of Charleston, Creighton and Marquette (in a tournament in Fullerton, CA), at San Diego, Washington, Colorado State twice, at Kansas, Boise State twice, Air Force twice, Fresno State twice, UNLV 3 times, San Jose State twice, Utah State 3 times, Nevada, and New Mexico. The Aztecs are 19-13 ATS and the total is 8-23 this season.
San Diego State is outscoring teams 71-57 this season. The Aztecs are #2 nationally in points allowed. SDSU is shooting 43.6% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. The Aztecs are #298 nationally in free throw shooting at 66.1% from the line. SDSU opponents are shooting 38.3% from the field and 28.5% from 3 point range. The Aztecs are #8 in field goal defense and #2 in 3 point defense nationally. SDSU is averaging 37.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.4 per game. The Aztecs are #40 nationally in rebounding. SDSU averages 10.2 assists, 9.9 turnovers, 7.9 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.8 assists, 14.1 turnovers, 4.5 steals and 4.3 blocks per game.
Guard Xavier Thames was the Mountain West player of the year. He averages 17.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Forward Winston Shepard averages 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward J.J. O’Brien averages 7.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Forward Dwayne Polee II averages 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Josh Davis averages 7.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1 steal per game. Matt Shrigley, Aqeel Quinn, Skylar Spencer, Dakarai Allan, and James Johnson will also get significant minutes. Spencer leads the team in blocks at 2.5 per game.
Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. Arizona has losses at California, Arizona State, Oregon and UCLA. The Wildcats have key wins over Cal Poly, Long Beach State, at San Diego State, Rhode Island, Drexel and Duke in the pre-season NIT in New York City, Texas Tech, UNLV, New Mexico State, at Michigan, Washington State, Washington, at UCLA and USC, Arizona State, Colorado three times, Utah three times , Cal, Stanford twice, Oregon and Oregon State twice. Arizona is 21-14 ATS and the total is 12-20-2 this season.
Arizona is outscoring teams 73-58 this season. The Wildcats are #5 nationally in points allowed. Arizona is shooting 47.1% from the field and 36.1% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #49 nationally in field goal percentage. Arizona makes 65.5% of their free throws and are #314 nationally out of 351 teams in that category. Wildcat opponents are shooting 38% from the field and 32% from 3 point range. Arizona is #4 in field goal defense and #59 in 3 point defense. The Wildcats average 38.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 27.1. Arizona is #26 in rebounding and #14 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Wildcats average 15.1 assists, 10.4 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 4.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.2 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 4.8 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.
Guard Nick Johnson averages 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Forward Aaron Gordon averages 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. Forward Brandon Ashley averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1 assist per game. He broke his foot in the Cal loss and is gone for the season. Center Kaleb Tarczewski averages 10 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1 block per game. Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 8.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. Guard T.J. McConnell averages 8.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Guard Gabe York averages 7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists.
This should be a low scoring game. Both teams are in the top 5 nationally in scoring defense. San Diego State struggles to score sometimes, and if they go in a long drought then they could be in serious trouble against the talented Wildcats. Everyone loves Arizona in this game as the line moved from Wildcats -6 to -8. I think the Aztecs keep it closer than that but Arizona pulls it out late.