It’s a battle of West Coast Conference teams on the college hardwood out in the midst of Silicon Valley. The Air Force Falcons are on the road as they travel to face the San Jose State Spartans Saturday afternoon. Air Force was drubbed 72-47 on the road by Utah State Tuesday night in their previous contest. San Jose State was rolled 86-59 on the road by New Mexico Tuesday night in their last contest. The Falcons own a 10-6 edge in the all-time series and have claimed the last five meetings, including an 87-56 romp in the last meeting, which came in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament on March 13, 2019.
Air Force Falcons Try to Bounce Back From Road LossAir Force has had their ups and downs this season, which is something that the service academies run across when it comes to athletics. The Falcons enter this game 9-11 on the year and stand 3-5 in the Mountain West on the season. Air Force won two of their first three games to start the year before dropping four straight contests. The Falcons bounced back with four wins in five games to get to 6-6 on the season. Air Force has dropped two straight and five of their last eight games coming into this one though they do own a 19-point home win over Utah State as their signature win.
The Falcons are having a lot of success putting points on the board as they average 75.2 points per game this season. Air Force is grabbing 32.5 rebounds per contest and hands out 13.8 assists per game. The Falcons are average defensively, ranking 251st in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 72.2 points a night this year. Ryan Swan is second on the team with 13.8 points plus 4.4 rebounds per contest while Lavelle Scottie puts up a team-leading 15.1 points plus 5.6 rebounds a night. Chris Joyce, Sid Tomes, A.J. Walker (12 points), Caleb Morris, Mason Taylor and Keaton Van Soelen each put up at least 3.8 points a night for the Falcons. Air Force shoots 46.7 percent from the field as a team on the year. The Falcons are knocking down 8.5 three-pointers a night while hitting 38.3 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Air Force is terrific at the charity stripe, cashing in 76.1 percent of their attempts this season.
According to KenPom, the Falcons are an excellent offensive team and they are miserable on the defensive end of the floor. Air Force is 49th in offensive efficiency but stands just 315th in defensive efficiency this season. The Falcons are 27th in effective field goal percentage (53.8 percent), 26th in three-point percentage and 76th in two-point percentage (52.1 percent) this season. On defense, Air Force is 341st in effective field goal percentage defense (55.8 percent), 322nd in turnover percentage (16.5 percent) and 342nd in two-point field goal percentage defense (56.3 percent) this season. The Falcons play at an average pace as they are 187th in tempo with 68.3 possessions per contest.
San Jose State Spartans Looking to Get Back in Win ColumnSan Jose State has continued to struggle as the Jean Prioleau era continues. The Spartans are 6-14 overall this season and stand 2-6 in the Mountain West this season. That is an improvement as the team was 4-26 in 2017-18 and 4-27 in 2018-19, going 1-17 in conference play both years. Still, it seems that San Jose State is light years away from being relevant. The Spartans won their season opener, dropped two straight and then won two in a row to get to 3-2. Since then, San Jose State has gone 3-12, though they do have a two-point win over Nevada at home on January 8. The Spartans enter this contest losers of three straight games with each of those coming by double figures.
The Spartans are averaging 68.8 points per game on the season, which puts them 247th in the nation in scoring offense this season. San Jose State collects 36.3 boards a night while handing out 13.3 assists per contest. The Spartans are below average on the defensive end of the floor as they are 338th in scoring defense by allowing 78.8 points a night. Seneca Knight leads the team with 14.4 points per game and is the only player averaging in double figures this season. Richard Washington, Brae Ivey, Zach Chappell, Ralph Agee, Christian Anigwe and Omari Moore all average better than four points a night for the Spartans this season. San Jose State is shooting 39 percent from the field as a team this season. The Spartans average 7.8 triples a night while shooting 29.8 percent from beyond the arc. San Jose State is cashing in just 69.7 percent of their chances at the charity stripe.
Defense has been a problem for the Spartans this season as they have allowed at least 80 points 10 times in 20 games. In two other games, they allowed 78 and 79 points, meaning that in more than half their games, they’ve allowed at least 78 points. That’s not a recipe for success. San Jose State struggles on both ends of the floor as they are 269th in offensive efficiency and 285th in defensive efficiency on the year. The Spartans play at a quick tempo, ranking 33rd in pace with 71.8 possessions a game, but that just leads to more chances for the opposition to put points on the board. The Spartans are just 334th in effective field goal percentage (44.7 percent), 312th in two-point field goal percentage (45.2 percent) and are 325th in three-point percentage this season.
The top trends for this contest according to Covers.com:
- Falcons are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points
- Falcons are 23-8-1 ATS in their last 32 games following an ATS loss
- Spartans are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 Saturday games
- Spartans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
- Spartans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record