The most surprising team in the NCAA college basketball tournament will be tipping off in a matter of hours as the 11th-seeded San Diego State Aztecs (22-10) of the Mountain West Conference play the 6th-seeded Houston Cougars (26-7) of the All-American Conference at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas at 4:20 p.m. PDT on TBS.
The game is expected to be one of the most physical games in opening round play, as YurView will have in-depth coverage of this and all opening-round games on the “Eye on the Alamo” show airing Monday’s at 9:00pm and replays Tuesday and Wednesday (check local listings).
.@Aztec_MBB vs. Houston | NCAA Tournament First Round
📍: Intrust Bank Arena – Wichita, Kansas
🗓: Thursday, March 15
⏰: 4:20 p.m. PT
📰: https://t.co/QWyq8xScpY pic.twitter.com/QaEmHrC0gW
— San Diego State University (@SDSU) March 15, 2018
San Diego State heads into the game a four-point underdog, as the Aztecs will have to find a solution for stopping energetic Houston point guard Rob Gray who is averaging nearly 19 points and five assists per game. The well-balanced Aztecs have now won nine games in a row, not having lost a game in over a month.
For the Aztecs to survive their opening game of March Madness and continue on to play the winner between the Michigan Wolverines and Montana Grizzlies, they will have to get double-digit scoring performances from at least three players, ideally, three of the five who average double-digit scoring during the season: Malik Pope, Devin Watson, Matt Mitchell, Trey Kell or freshman sensation Jalen McDaniels.
Rebounding will be an important key to the game, as the Aztecs average 38 rebounds a game, and will need to match or surpass that statistic to pull off a victory against the ball-hungry Cougars. The Aztecs will attempt to work the shot clock and attempt high-percentage shots to negate the Cougars’ rebounding ability.
The game location in Kansas may give Houston a slight advantage, but the expected slower pace of the game will give the Aztecs a chance to take the crowd out of the game, and continue with their March dream of keeping their eye on the Alamo.