WYOMING (5-15) AT #4 SAN DIEGO STATE (19-0)
11 p.m. ET; CBSS
No. 4 San Diego State plays host to Mountain West Conference counterpart Wyoming on Tuesday at Viejas Arena, where a victory would tie the Aztecs’ best start in program history.
San Diego State (19-0, 8-0) shut down Nevada’s offense in the second half of a 68-55 victory Saturday, pulling the Aztecs one victory shy of the 2010-11 team’s record 20-0 start.
Sweeping the season series with Wyoming on Tuesday would also mark the third 20-game winning streak in program history.
With the Aztecs nearing a significant milestone, and the only remaining undefeated team in college basketball, talk of a potential landmark No. 1 ranking down the road arose following Saturday’s win.
“They’re just numbers,” said San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher countered in his postgame news conference. “This week, I think (Nos.) 4 and 5 lost two games.”
Dutcher referenced previously fourth-ranked and unbeaten Auburn, which dropped games to Alabama and Florida, and previous No. 5 Butler. The Bulldogs lost to Seton Hall and DePaul. Add last week’s No. 3-ranked Duke to that mix: The Blue Devils dropped games to Clemson and Louisville.
“So as good as you’re playing, you’re always one week from a disaster in this business,” Dutcher added. “A team makes shots and you lose a game and then you might drop another because you’re on the road. And that’s just basketball.”
While that is indeed the case — and has been the overall theme of this particular college basketball season — San Diego State’s consistency, with the chaos around it, is all the more noteworthy.
Pollsters took notice. The Aztecs’ No. 4 ranking this week matches a program high alongside the No. 4 positioning the 2010-11 team earned on this same week nine years ago. But that ranking also preceded the end of San Diego State’s winning streak.
And on Saturday, the Aztecs needed to rally after trailing Nevada at halftime.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a little different at halftime,” Yanni Wetzell said in the postgame press conference. “That was the second time we faced being down at half time in 18 games, so the energy was a little different, but luckily we’re an older group so we regathered and regrouped and came out aggressive in the second half.”
Halftime adjustments were not necessary the last time San Diego State saw Tuesday’s opponent, Wyoming. The Aztecs led 32-21 at intermission en route to a 72-52 blowout road win.
The Jan. 8 matchup brought Wyoming (5-15, 0-8) its third loss in an ongoing, six-game losing skid. The most recent came on Saturday in a 65-50 defeat to Fresno State. Before that, the Cowboys lost by one point to Nevada and went overtime against UNLV.
“After our (previous) two games, I thought we were taking steps in the right direction,” Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said after falling to Fresno State. “But I thought tonight we took a step back in the sense of not stepping up to the challenge from a physical standpoint.”
Wyoming was out-rebounded on Saturday 44-30. San Diego State’s advantage on the glass in the Jan. 8 meeting was much closer at 30-27, but the Cowboys have been out-rebounded on the season 749-596.
–Field Level Media