Utah St. Aggies vs. San Jose St. Spartans Pick & Prediction JANUARY 30th 2024

Minutes after a 90-84 overtime win Saturday at Boise State, Utah State coach Danny Sprinkle saluted his team’s courage.

“It takes a lot of guts to come in here and win,” Sprinkle said. “We are going to enjoy the hell out of this until midnight and then the rent is due tomorrow.”

No. 17 Utah State (18-12, 6-1 Mountain West) will be home at Logan, Utah, on Tuesday to face San Jose State (8-12, 1-6). The Aggies are in first place in the conference, while the Spartans are tied for last.

Utah State authored a notable finish Saturday. Ian Martinez drove for a layup with 1.3 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and the Aggies used the extra five minutes to hit 10 of 11 free throws as they stayed atop the league.

“We just had to be us,” Aggies center Isaac Johnson said. “To come here and do this, it’s awesome and a great feeling.”

Sprinkle’s first season at Utah State has been a success to this point, largely because of the team’s ability to control the lane. The offense, which attacks inside-out with forward Great Osobor (18.5 points per game, 9.7 rebounds), is ninth in Division I in field goal percentage at 49.9 and scores 82.6 points.

Osobor is one of four players who deliver double figures in points. Martinez (13.8), Mason Falslev (11.5) and Darius Brown II (11.1) play key roles in the offense. Brown, a transfer from Middle Tennessee, ranks seventh in Division I at 7.0 assists per game.

Per kenpom.com, the Aggies are 39th in adjusted offensive efficiency with 115.8 points per 100 possessions and 51st in adjusted defensive efficiency at 99.0. They make nearly 58 percent of their 2-point shots, which ranks ninth.

San Jose State lost a game it could have won Saturday, blowing a 12-point first half lead at home and allowing UNLV to make its last 14 shots from the field in a 77-65 decision. Myron Amey Jr. scored 18 points and Alvaro Cardenas scored 14 with six assists.

“Ultimately, I felt humiliated with how the second half went,” Spartans coach Tim Miles said after the Rebels shot 80 percent from the floor in the second half.

The season has been a step backward for San Jose State, which went to the College Basketball Invitational in 2022-23 and hoped to build on it. Instead, the Spartans have endured a series of tough losses.

There were two overtime setbacks in nonconference play and three one-possession defeats in Mountain West action, including an 81-78 home loss Jan. 9 to a San Diego State, which played for the national championship last April.

The Spartans have a solid backcourt in Cardenas (11.1 points, 6.1 assists) and Amey (15.8 points). Their effective field goal percentage of 53.8 ranks 56th in Division I, per kenpom, but they have had trouble stopping good teams.

San Jose State ranks 285th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 292nd in defensive effective field goal percentage and 337th in opponents’ 3-point percentage.

Utah State and San Jose State will meet again March 6 in the Bay Area during the final week of the regular season.

–Field Level Media

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