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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Preview: What Fresno State has to do to knock down No. 1 Utah State

The+Fresno+State+bench+cheers+at+the+Thomas+%26+Mack+Center+on+March+13.
Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
The Fresno State bench cheers at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 13.

After punching its ticket to the quarterfinals in the Mountain West tournament, the Fresno State men’s basketball team will face off against No. 1 Utah State today at noon at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Coming in as the No. 9 seed, the ‘Dogs will need to perform well-rounded basketball to advance to the next stage of the tournament.

Unlike the last matchup earlier this season, Fresno State didn’t have guard, Donovan Yap Jr., who tremendously helped with the scoring during the first round.

Now with another guard on the court, here’s what the Bulldogs will have to do to pull off the upset against the Aggies.

The first thing is to limit the fouls. In yesterday’s game, the Bulldogs combined for a total of 20 fouls, including guard Isaiah Pope fouling out.

With an already limited roster due to injuries, the Bulldogs must keep their rotation options open.

Another key element to winning the game is protecting the rim. Center Enoch Boakye is back on the floor, giving it the height it needs to compete against Utah State.

In the last matchup against the Aggies, the ‘Dogs were forced to play small because Boakye was left out of the lineup. Fresno State forced the game into overtime, but fell short.
A bigger person in the paint gives Fresno State an advantage and an opportunity to have a different outcome than prior games.

If Fresno State makes these adjustments, they can look to knock down the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West conference, which would be the biggest upset of the tournament.

It’s March, so anything can happen between the madness of college basketball.

The Bulldogs will face the Aggies today at noon at the Thomas and Mack Center. The Mountain West Network will broadcast the game live.

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