#20 San Diego State vs. Cal State San Marcos
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Viejas Arena in San Diego, CA
Cal State San Marcos (0-0)
Head Coach: Jim Saia
CSUSM Record: 19-12 / 2nd season
Projected Starting Lineup
*G – Danny Redmon (Sr.) 6'3, 195
Redmon didn't play in last year's game against San Diego State due to injury. The Air Force/NAU transfer is a true point guard who averaged 9.6 PPG, 4.8 APG and 4.1 RPG in 2011.
G – Jose Rivera (Sr.) 6'3, 195
*G – Jacob Ranger (Sr.) 6'5, 205
The UC Davis transfer is the Cougars top returning scorer at 14.2 PPG. Ranger hit 70 three pointers at a 38.5% rate last year.
F – Quincy Lawson (Jr.) 6'6, 190
Lawson is a four at the Division-I level even though LMU played him at the three during his stint in LA.
"He's just extremely athletic, good feel for the game," Saia said. "For our level he's a very good player. He knows how to score with his back to the basket, can run the floor, excellent rebounder and defender."
F – Ali Langford (Sr.) 6'7, 200
The top second unit player for CSUSM is wing Bryan Emanuel who only 3 played games last season due to pulling his groin three different occasions. He's a typical glue guy that is an all-around player and a good defender.
San Diego State (0-0, 0-0 MW)
Head Coach: Steve Fisher
SDSU Record: 258-160 / 14th season
Projected Starting Lineup
*G – Xavier Thames (Jr.) 6'3, 190
*G – Chase Tapley (Sr.) 6'3, 195
*G – Jamaal Franklin (Jr.) 6'5, 205
Preseason MW Player of the Year was seen all summer in the Drew League outperforming professional basketball players but this will be the first time Aztec fans will be able to see him do it in a real game situation against college players.
F – Unknown
The Aztecs coaching staff hasn't given any indications on the starting lineup but it seems four spots are taken with the last spot up for grabs. There is good number of players trying to earn that final spot: *James Rahon, Winston Shepard, J.J. O'Brien and Dwayne Polee.
F – Deshawn Stephens (Sr.) 6'8, 225
SDSU's season could rely on the development of Stephens inside. The #20 ranked team in the nation is thin in the frontcourt so not only must he stay healthy but also hopefully his all around game has continued to develop. He's already freak athlete.
Where do you start? This Aztecs team could possibly go 11 guys deep and the team is versatile. With James Johnson not eligible until late December, freshman Skylar Spencer should spell for Stephens. Looking forward to see how Matt Shrigley plays and how he will fit into this team.
(* Returning Starter)
Keys to the Game
1) Health. San Diego State isn't worried about the final score, don't get me wrong the Aztecs are expected to win big but they must come out of this game injury free.
2) Earning your spot. Outside of a few players (projected starters) no one really knows how they will fit into the rotation so each player is out to prove themselves Thursday night.
3) Finding the perfect match. Not only will the SDSU staff look to see who performs well but who meshes well with who. We'll see a different mix of lineups throughout the night. What groups will demonstrate the most synergy on the floor?
What to Watch
Cal State San Marcos
"In the first half we are going to play zone and they know that. In an exhibition game you kind of do what they want us to do," Saia explained. "They [SDSU] are preparing for Syracuse so we do have a zone we can run. We'll run it against them in the first half but in the second half we are going to play regular whether we can play man or zone."
San Diego State
"I think what we'll do is start two different lineups on Thursday and Monday and get a good feel. You may see three or four of the same guys out there, but I don't think we'll have exactly the same lineup for each game," Fisher said. "I may say, ‘Well, I was kidding when I said we wouldn't see the same lineup.' So I don't know for sure. I do know that we are going to play a lot of people."
Last year the Cougars kept it within striking distance (78-63) but the Aztecs overall ability was too much. CSUSM lost three of their top four scorers from last year but do have Redmon and Lawson at their disposal this year. Despite that SDSU is longer, more athletic and deeper than last year. Aztecs are not just a matchup nightmare to the Cougars but to a majority of D-I programs. I expect the San Diego State players to come out playing like they are trying to earn a spot in the rotation so this one should get ugly quick.
San Diego State 84 Cal State San Marcos 47
Post game press conference with SDSU head coach Steve Fisher, Chase Tapley and DeShawn Stephens…