#32 San Diego State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

San Diego State Aztecs

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank:  #1 Mountain West

San Diego State Team Page#32 San Diego State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy San Diego State Basketball Tickets

Steve Fisher, entering his 17th season at San Diego State, has the Aztecs on the precipice of another conference title.  Boise State and Utah State are on their heels, but the Aztecs have won (or tied for) the conference title in five of the last six seasons. They are among the more dominant teams in the country within their conference. After a strong 2014-2015 season, there is no reason to suspect anything will change. Coach Fisher has three starters returning to a veteran team that won over 25 games. His squad should continue its recent string of success this season.

2014-2015 record:  27-9, 14-4 Mountain West Conference
2014-2015 postseason:  NCAA
Coach:  Steve Fisher
Coach Record:  339-185 at SDSU, 523-267 overall

Who’s Out:
The Aztecs lose two starters in JJ O’Brien and Aqeel Quinn, two double-digit scorers and significant scoring contributors. O’Brien easily outpaced his counterparts in minutes played, so filling that floor time will likely come down to a committee of capable players. He was efficient and reliable. Quinn was the team’s best free-throw shooter and could play all over the floor. It will be tough to replace those two, but there are a lot of experienced players who should slide right in to the lineup. Additionally, forward Dwayne Polee II moves on from the program as well.  He was great off the bench, averaging over seven points per game.  

Who’s In:
Though regular contributors last season, players like Trey Kell, Malik Pope, Dakarai Allen and Angelo Chol will likely see their roles increased.  These guys are well-engrained in the program and should provide a lot of rotation options for Fisher. Redshirt freshman Zylan Cheatham will look to breakout this season. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and should be another cog in the Aztecs strong front court. Freshman Jeremy Hemsley will add some help in the backcourt. A top-100 recruit, he was an elite scorer at the guard position in high school. All in all, Coach Fisher has a lot of tools at his disposal with such a deep roster. It’s a great blend of veteran leadership and promising young talent.

Who to Watch:
Winston Shepard has a shot at some national awards this year. The team leader in nearly every statistical category of note, Shepard is unquestionably the team leader. Coach Fisher will rely on him during crunch time throughout the season. Keep an eye on Malik Pope as well. A preseason All-MWC candidate, Pope seems primed for a big season. His point totals should increase dramatically from 5.1. Toward the end of last season, he was one of the more efficient Aztecs, shooting nearly 50% from all over the floor. He has the potential to average a double-double for Fisher all season long.  Pope can be a complete player down on the block on both ends of the floor.

Final Projection:
San Diego State should expect nothing less than another regular season conference title – and likely a conference tournament title as well. The Aztecs have a roster as deep as any other major program. There is elite talent in Shepard and quality veterans in Skylar Spencer, Pope and Kell.  SDSU’s success has been predicated on super stingy defense.  They have the horses to continue that dominance this season. We will be able to see how they stack up against strong non-conference competition early in the season, but they should expect to win 25 games yet again. The question is how far can this team go in the NCAA Tournament? Could they finally breakthrough and get to the Sweet 16 this year?  They certainly have the team to do it.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Dakarai Allen, Junior, Guard, 2.6 points per game
Trey Kell, Sophomore, Guard, 5.6 points per game
Winston Shepard, Senior, Forward, 11.1 points per game
Skylar Spencer, Senior, Foward, 3.7 points per game
Matt Shrigley, Junior, Forward, 5.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 61.8 (299th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 53.9 (2, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 35.5 (345, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.4 (7, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (278, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.0 (271, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 63.0 (331, 11)
Rebound Margin: 3.3 (71, 4)
Assists Per Game: 10.5 (305, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (65, 6)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#21 Malik Pope

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#73 Jeremy Hemsley
#133 Brodricks Jones


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