Aztecs look to even series against Broncos in game with tournament implications

Miles Heide blocks a shot against San Jose State. (Don De Mars/EVT)

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Jaedon LeDee scores in traffic against San Jose State. (Don De Mars/EVT)

SDSU lost a close one to UNLV 62-58 in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.

On Friday, the Aztecs will end their regular season with a game against the Boise State Broncos in front of the home crowd on senior night. It is a game with serious conference tournament implications. If the Aztecs lose, coupled with New Mexico beating Utah State, then SDSU will end up as the 6th seed. Teams seeded 6th or lower have never made the tournament final in its current format, so remaining in the top 5 is a priority.

If the Aztecs win, they guarantee no worse than a five-seed in the tournament, with the most likely scenario being playing Boise State again in the 4-5 game. 

Prior to the first meeting, EVT published a preview of how the two teams match up.

That article is still relevant for this game and can be found here

Since the two squads have already played, rehashing much of the same information is not ideal. Instead, this article will focus on what went well for the Aztecs in the first matchup and what adjustments can be expected from both teams.

What worked well

Both teams played defense at a very high level in the last meeting. The Broncos struggled to score inside as efficiently as they usually do. Part of that was due to the double teams the Aztecs sent to post players. Often they resulted in turnovers, such as in the example below. 

Other times, SDSU  forced the ball into the hands of a less dangerous player, which is generally a win for the defense. The Aztecs’ strategy will continue to be making shots difficult inside and preventing the top players from gaining momentum. 

SDSU also succeeded in playing aggressively on the road. Offensively, they attacked the basket, which resulted in many shots at the rim and free-throw attempts. SDSU took one fewer free throw on the road than Boise State did. If the season-long trend continues, that same aggression should result in even more free throws at home. 

Expected Boise State adjustments

When the Aztecs double-teamed the post, almost exclusively the point guard participated in the double. This gave Boise State some trouble, especially in the first few possessions of the game. Expect the Broncos to be ready for that this time around and have an extra cut or screen when the ball is in the post to take advantage of that. 

They will also probably look to play faster. The Broncos are one of the slowest pace offensive teams in the nation, but scoring against the Aztec defense in the half-court is difficult, especially at Viejas. Getting easy points early in the clock will help them not get bogged down. 

Expected SDSU adjustments

The Aztecs will also want to play faster than they usually do and for the same reason. Boise State has the 31st-best defense in the nation, and they have been getting better as the year has gone on. Scoring before the Broncos get their defense set will help the Aztecs get easy points. 

The Aztecs will also want to prepare for the hedging defense that Boise State used in the first game. It gave them a lot of trouble and disrupted the rhythm of plays. 

UNLV used the same strategy on Tuesday to great effect. The Aztecs could counter by reversing the ball to the top of the key and making a high-low pass to LeDee. The other counter is to attack the baseline on side pick and rolls since the primary help defender will be out of position on the hedge. 

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Defensively, the Aztecs will need to close out harder to contest perimeter shots. The Broncos have found the shooting touch SDSU has lost. 

One specific play that Boise State had a lot of success with involved setting a back screen for Roddie Anderson to cut into the paint off a post-up. The Aztecs will want to scout that play specifically and probably switch the defenders when it happens. 


Turnovers. Both teams are coming off of losses, and both will come in focused and ready to redeem themselves. Both teams are defensive powerhouses that make life difficult for their opponents. If one team can force turnovers and get easy buckets from them, it will give them an edge.

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