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San Diego State vs #13 Gonzaga Preview

Last test before West Coast Conference play starts, can’t let it go to waste.

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountain West favorite brings back valuable experience from last year's unexpected March Madness run. Lamont Butler, Damion Trammell, and Micah Parrish are all returning key pieces for the Aztecs. I’ve always loved Brian Dutcher’s coaching style since his Michigan assistant days with the Fab Five.

This matchup all starts with the defensive guard play. Who’s going to get in the passing lanes and switch off screens the toughest? I’ve seen a lot of Trammell over the years from his Saint Ignatius days back in high school in the Bay Area to his Seattle U early years to now. He’s quick, he’s feisty, not someone you want to underestimate.

With the West Coast Conference as a whole not living up to the expectations, you have minimal chances to boost your stock. The Zags can’t let this one slip. It’s a must-win game, no questions asked.

San Diego State’s record -

10-2 (W vs Cal State Fullerton, L @ BYU, W vs Long Beach State, W vs Saint Mary’s, W vs Washington, W vs California, W vs Point Loma, W @ UC San Diego, W vs UC Irvine, L @ Grand Canyon, W vs Saint Katherine, W vs Stanford)

Key stats -

77.2 PPG

66.3 points allowed

43.8 FG%

33.5 3P%

73.6 FT%

38.5 RPG

14.4 APG

8.3 SPG

3.4 BPG

10.8 TO

KenPom rankings -

#30 overall

112.6 adjusted offensive efficiency (#44)

94.5 adjusted defensive efficiency (#20)

Key player to watch for -

Jaedeon LeDee (senior, forward) - 21.6 PPG on 40.0 FG% and 41.9 3PT%, 9.4 RPG, 1.2 SPG

He’s grown exponentially throughout his college experience from Ohio State to TCU and is now coming into his shining moment with San Diego State. With Gonzaga’s frontcourt experience going up against Zach Edey, Franck Kepnang, and Donavan Clingan, the Zags really have to zero in on LeDee. He’s the focal point of the offense for the Aztecs with his continuous aggressiveness on the glass, nearly averaging four offensive boards a game.

It’s been a theme in these previous losses to Purdue, Washington, and UConn. Win on the glass, win the game.

San Diego State comes to McCarthey Athletic Center on Friday at 6 PM PT on ESPN2. The Zags are 6-0 at home but this will be the Kraziest that the Kennel has been all season.

Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho