Looking at how both teams got to their current 4-2 MWC records:
Air Force Schedule/Roster/Stats
Note that from press conference, both James and Tapley are game time decisions on playing. James due to his back and has seen limited action but still played 20 minutes in last game but did not start. Evidently Tapley hurt his wrist in the last game vs NM and has not practiced much this week. Most do expect both to play but no update at the time of this report.
Keys for Air Force to win this game versus a very good San Diego State team:
1) Do not be a one player/one dimensional scoring team. The strength this season for Air Force is not having one player having to score each and every game, rather different individuals are stepping up as the game and the opponent's defense dictates. In recent games different Falcons have stood up to lead in scoring:
vs Frenso State Fletcher 19pts Lyons 15
vs Wyoming Broekhuis 16pts Lyons 11 Earls 10pts
vs New Orleans Fitzgerald 16pts Lyons 14pts Fletcher 14pts
vs Boise Lyons 37pts Fitzgerald 17pts
vs UNLV Fitzgerald 22pts, Lyons 19 Earl 10
vs Nevada Fitzgerald 30pts
This gives latitude for Air Forces offense to use their complete offense and run plays for different members of the offense if one player is keyed upon. Key for the Falcons is to find multiple players to fulfill that role in this game.
2) On offense continue to go inside out. In previous years against the SDSU defense, Air Force did not adequately attempt to go into the lane aggressively to score, at times shut down their effort to penetrate due to the length and athleticism of the Aztecs. This year's Falcons seem much more aggressive in going to the lane and the glass and either getting the shot, getting fouled or kicking to the open three. This is a must for AF to do to have success.
3) Use that home court 'know how and comfort' and shoot at least the current team average from the three. We do this then the offense will click for the whole game opening up the inside as commented on in (2) above.
4) On defense, be stingy with the matchup zone denying entry into the lane. SDSU is going to go try to get into the lane and take the 12-15' shot or go to the rim. It must be contested and stopped and force them to repy on the three. I believe the better movement by AF on defense, similar to what Wyoming did to SDSU, can have positive effects for the Falcons.
5) Be aggressive on the glass and deny second chance shots for the Aztecs. Great blocking out and rebounding especially in the last two games, need to continue the trend.
6) I will say it again...minutes and points off the bench especially from Olesinski at the '5', Coggins and Green at guard and Hammonds and Williams at forward. I believe it is time for a breakout performance for Max Yon. It has been an awkward quiet few games for this young man. Taking a deep breath, playing under control and I think he can provide surprise in defending and scoring for the Falcons.
7) Lastly, how many times can you say 'Free Throws' win games. Air Force needs to keep shooting with the accuracy they have shown in leading the MWC from the FT line (in MWC games AF FT 83% SDSU Ft 69%.
Big game for the Falcons and big weekend for the MWC:
#22 SDSU (4-2) at Air Force (4-2)
Nevada (2-4) at #20 NM (5-1)
Wyoming (2-5) at CSU (4-2)
UNLV (4-2) at Boise St (2-4)
Bye Frenso State (2-4)
Time for the fans and Section 8 to show up to Clune Arena and make it 'The Chamber' once again.
BEAT SAN DIEGO STATE