Utah State vs. Fresno State Pick Against the Spread
Utah State Aggies (17-7 SU, 13-9 ATS) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (11-10 SU, 8-11 ATS)
When: Saturday, March 6, 11 p.m.
Where: Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.
Point Spread: USU -8/FRES +8 (Bovada)
Last Time Out:Utah State beat Wyoming 72-59; Fresno State defeated Boise State 67-64.
About the Matchup:This is about as close to a must-win as it gets for Utah State. The Aggies have absolutely no margin for error if they want to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, and taking a loss at Fresno State would certainly qualify as a major error. That’s a worry for the Aggies because the Bulldogs are more talented than their record suggests and just proved it by handing Boise State a loss that the Broncos really couldn’t afford to take. However, the Aggies have been playing pretty well themselves, and they handled Fresno pretty easily on their first trip to California. Only Boise State (in the first meeting, which the Broncos won) held the Bulldogs to less than the 53 that Utah State gave up to Fresno when the teams played last month. A win here would take a lot of pressure off of Utah State, as the Aggies would likely only need to make it to the Mountain West semifinals to earn an at-large bid to In-dianapolis. Lose here, however, and USU’s only real path to the NCAA tournament would proba-bly be to win the Mountain West tournament.
Scouting the Aggies:On first glance, Utah State really doesn’t stand out all that much. The Aggies are middling shooters, don’t really have a high-scoring star grabbing all the headlines, and turn the ball over a bit more often than you would like. But what the Aggies do have is a 7-foot center in Neemias Queta, who can control the game down low simply through his presence.
Because of him and Justin Bean, the Aggies can rebound better than anyone else in the Moun-tain West, and it’s one reason they’re such a dangerous team in this league. It’s hard to control the pace of play when you’re frequently limited to one shot per trip because if you aren’t scor-ing, you’re either treading water or falling behind. The thing that really has to scare Fresno State is that Utah State didn’t even rebound all that well in the first matchup, winning the re-bounding battle by just one. But the Aggies won the game by 16, in large part because their de-fense forced so many bad looks that they never had to worry about dominating on the glass.