The Michigan Wolverines headed into Big Ten play undefeated a season ago but is most certainly not the case this season. After not losing for the third time until the 22nd game during the 2020-21 season, they have already been on the losing end three times in the first seven games.
San Diego State, one of the top contenders in the Mountain West Conference, continues to test itself with some challenging non-conference games believing the lessons learned in games against Brigham Young, Arizona State, Georgetown, Southern California and now Michigan will pay dividends when the conference season starts.
San Diego State has seen six of its seven games go under the scores and odds total while the last six Michigan games have failed to go over the total.
- Game: San Diego State (5-2) at Michigan (4-3)
- Location: Crisler Center
- Day/Time: Saturday, Dec. 4, 1 p.m. ET
- Television: CBS
|San Diego State||+7.5||N/A||126.5|
San Diego State Aztecs at Michigan Wolverines
San Diego State Is Speedy
The last time that the San Diego State Aztecs played a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, the results were not pretty.
The Aztecs missed 14 of their 17 3-point attempts, were outrebounded by 16 and had just six field goals in the first half in a 58-43 loss to Southern California.
San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said he wasn’t about to overreact after a tough outing against one of the best defensive teams in the country.
“There’s nothing tactical, you want to run every chance you can because half-court defenses are so good,” Dutcher said. “USC is a top 10 defense in the country so it’s not surprising we had difficulty scoring. And that’s coming off the Georgetown game when we scored the ball really well. Sometimes the opponent dictates what success you have.
“We know we want to run more than we have. We work on that every day. We want to move at a greater pace at the offensive end and that comes with being familiar with what we’re trying to do. We have a lot of new pieces to our offense this year. We are trying to figure out where they’re supposed to be first of all, and once they figure that out, if they move to those places at a greater pace, our efficiency will go up.”
The Aztecs did shoot the ball better in a win over Long Beach State as they covered as a 19½-point favorite according to the scores and odds . Led by Matt Bradley (13 points per game) and Trey Pulliam (10.9) another big test comes against Michigan.
Growing pains continue for Michigan Wolverines
Plenty was expected when Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate, the No. 9 and 13 rated players in ESPN’s 2021 college basketball recruiting rankings decided to commit to the Michigan Wolverines.
There have been some pretty impressive moments so far and other times when they looked like freshmen.
They have combined to score 84 points while shooting 56.4% from the field in the four wins but in losses to Seton Hall, Arizona and North Carolina, they have combined for just 36 points on 12 of 40 shooting.
Diabate earned his first start in the loss to North Carolina and came through with a team-high 13 points as he made all five of his field-goal attempts. Now the talented duo will look to build some confidence when the Wolverines return home to face a solid San Diego State team.
“Every moment is a teachable moment,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard told the media after the North Carolina loss. “What happened at Arizona, that’s way in the past. We’ve grown from that. Our guys are great. They accept learning, growing. During this game, there were moments we can take and grow from it.”
San Diego State may not have the high-end talent of an Arizona or North Carolina but the Aztecs have earned a reputation of a sound defensive team and they will try to slow down a Michigan team still figuring things out.
Michigan is listed by the sportsbook as the favorite for the eighth time in as many games this season.
“It’s very early,” Howard said. “What are we, 4-3? Seven games. We haven’t even gotten to the Big Ten season yet. I think this is going to make us a better team. I trust it will.
“I love our schedule and the type of teams we’re playing. Really good teams. We’re going to get better from this. I trust we will. I know the guys in the locker room, including the staff, have trust that we will get better.”
Having fifth-year senior Eli Brooks, who leads Michigan in scoring with an average of 15 points per game while making 91% of his free throws and nearly 50% of his field goals is helping keep things under control for the Wolverines.
Injury Could Hamper San Diego State
San Diego believes in testing itself early in the season. One test they weren’t counting on is playing without starting point guard Lamont Butler who suffered a wrist injury and is out. Butler leads the Aztecs with 14 steals, is third with 18 assists, and is the third-leading scorer.
Both teams are struggling against the college basketball spreads with Michigan covering in just one of the last five games and San Diego State just 4-9 in its last 13 games dating back to last season against the spread.
Pick: Under 126.5
Pick: Michigan Wolverines -7.5