Mid-Major Monday: San Diego State

Team: San Diego State Aztecs

Conference: Mountain West

Current Record: 17-4

Coach: Brian Dutcher

Coach Profile: Dutcher led the Aztecs to an impressive 30-2 season and 26-0 start last year and the Aztecs likely would’ve been a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Dutcher spent almost three decades as an assistant under the Aztecs previous head coach Steve Fisher at both SDSU and Michigan. In 2017, Dutcher took over the head coaching job after Fisher’s retirement and now he’s on to his fourth season at the helm.

What Makes Them Special?

This isn’t the same team that would’ve been a 1 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Malachi Flynn, Yanni Wetzell and KJ Feagin are gone. But, Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel are back and have led this team to a 17-4 season with just two regular season games remaining. The Aztecs are in the top 50 in the country in both offensive and defensive efficiency (39th in offense, 16th in defense). They are the only team in the Mountain West in the top 50 in both offense and defense and grade out as the #19 team in the country according to the current Kenpom rankings.

It all starts on defense for the Aztecs. They play a slow, grind it out style, 297th in the country in pace. Nobody in the Mountain West turns opponents over more and controls the defensive glass better than the Aztecs. They keep the ball out of the paint and force opponents to rely on making threes. Only 5 teams in the country give up a higher percentage of their opponent’s points from three.

On offense, they work for quality shots and shoot the 3-Pointer well; they’re 16th in the nation in 3-Point percentage (38.7%). Matt Mitchell is the Aztecs first option. He can score both inside and out and he’s the Aztecs second-leading rebounder. Jordan Schakel is SDSU’s second leading scorer and he can light it up from downtown; he’s currently 45.7% (63-for-138) from three this year and also almost 90% from the free throw line.

After those two, there’s a big drop off in scoring. Nathan Mensah and Terrell Gomez both average around 8 points per game. Mensah’s main responsibility is on the boards, he leads the team with 6.4 rebounds per game.

The Aztecs have won eight games in a row, but all against the bottom half teams in the Mountain West. Against the other top teams like Utah State and Colorado State, they’ve had some struggles, only a 1-3 record in those games. They really only have two scoring options and after that they can struggle to score. We’ll see how they matchup in their final two games against another top-level Mountain West team in Boise State.

San Diego State Aztecs 2020-21 Player Stats

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