Updated January 1, 2024By Chris Boline
What: Two Division I NCAA college basketball games in week nine of the 2023-24 NCAA Basketball season
Who: Utah State Aggies at Air Force Falcons & San José State Spartan at Wyoming Cowboys
When: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024
Where: Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, CO, and the Arena Auditorium in Laramie, WY
Across most of the country, non-conference play has wrapped up in college basketball and now the stakes are even higher as teams square off in conference showdowns. In the Mountain West, Utah State travels to Colorado Springs as they take on the frisky Falcons of Air Force at Clune Arena. The Aggies enter this game with a mark of 12-1, while Air Force sports a solid 7-5 record. Meanwhile, over in Wyoming, the Cowboys are slated to defend their turf against San José State. Both squads sport similar records, but the home-field advantage of Wyoming could be a solid advantage as SJSU comes up to play them from California. All four squads are looking to make an impact early in MWC action.
For this report, SBS will be taking a look at each squad, making a predicted winner in both matchups, and also sharing some more notes and information about NCAAB wagering.
NCAA Basketball 23-24 Week 9 GamesThe Pick
Utah State vs. Air ForceUtah State ML-167-167-167San José State vs. WyomingWyoming ML+147+147+147
NCAA Basketball Game One Overview
Team Spotlight: Utah State Aggies
Utah State enters this contest with a fantastic 12-1 record but has had some close calls as of late. While the Aggies did blitz East Tennessee State in their last contest, 80-65, they were not as dominant in matchups against San Francisco (54-53) and at Santa Clara (84-82). Of course, Utah State was still able to pull out the wins in each contest, but it served as a reminder that things can turn quickly in college basketball if your team overlooks the competition. Regardless, the Aggies still rank high in the KenPom metrics (top 65 in the country) ahead of stalwart programs like Butler, Arkansas, and N.C. State.
The Aggies are led by junior forward Great Osobor who paces the squad in points (17.3 ppg) and rebounds (9.2 rpg). Hailing from England, he has an excellent field goal percentage of 56.3% but does struggle a bit from the line (63.9%). Winners of 11 games in a row, Utah State has been outpacing opponents in the box score, notching 81.3 ppg to allowing just 65.7 each contest. Moreover, the Aggies are a combined 3-0 in Quad 1/2 games per the NET rankings. Another player to look out for is Darius Brown II, the Aggie leader in assists (7.6 apg).
Team Spotlight: Air Force Falcons
Air Force features another sensational player in guard, Ethan Taylor. Like Osobor, the junior playmaker leads his squad in two categories: points at 17.7 ppg and also assists with 3.3 per contest. After starting the season 7-2, the Falcons have come back down to Earth, losing three contests in a row. This includes three games at home, all by a combined margin of 12 points. Indeed with these close contests not going their way, the Falcons will have their hands once Mountain West play gets into full swing.
Regardless, Air Force is still a tough squad and should not be overlooked given the discipline and grit of the cadets. Per the latest NET rankings, the Falcons are 4-3 at home but have not defeated any team that is outside a Quad 4 ranking (7-2 in Q4). Perhaps the Falcons’ best win to date has been a trouncing of Portland on the road, 80-58. The other player to watch here is also Taylor’s backcourt mate, Kellan Boylan, who paces the team in rebounds at 6.9 from his guard spot.
Prediction: This will be an interesting battle as both teams are facing some rust after not playing since mid-December, but this will still be Utah State’s game to lose as the Aggies are the superior squad.
Utah State MLTo win vs. Air Force
NCAA Basketball Game Two Overview
Team Spotlight: San José State Spartans
Entering this game with a record of 7-6, the Spartans have had some moments in non-conference but also some duds as well. Per the NET, SJSU is a solid 1-1 in Quad 2 games and also 2-2 in Quad 3. Guard Myron Amey Jr. is the one to watch with 14.5 ppg and a decent field goal percentage of 43.4%. A squad that has been beating opponents by an average margin of 4.6 ppg (75.7 to 71.1), SJSU has won some blowouts but has also been unlucky in some bouts (including two losses to the Big Sky’s Montana Grizzlies, a rarity in non-conference play).
Team Spotlight: Wyoming Cowboys
The Cowboys are coming off a tough loss on the road to quasi-rival BYU, 94-68, so there definitely is a possibility of a “get-right” game as they come back to Laramie. Though there is a 30 spot disparity in the KenPom rankings between the teams, you can nullify those numbers a bit when it comes to the opening of Mountain West Conference action. The Cowboys are paced by sensational guard Sam Griffin who leads the squads in points (18.3 ppg on 48.1% shooting) and assists (3.8 apg). If he can get the game moving then the Cowboys have an excellent shot of knocking off SJSU at home to start MWC play.
Prediction: Wyoming returning to Laramie will play a big factor here as the Cowboys bounce back against the Spartans.
Wyoming MLTo win vs. San Jose State
Even more notes and info about your NCAAB bets
After you are all dialed in regarding this week’s slate of college basketball action, make sure to check out the great variety of info available to you only at SBS. Of course, for even more notes and info on the topic at hand, our NCAA betting sites breakdown is a must-read page where you can find and see the latest betting markets. On a separate note, a great resource to peruse is the VIP sports betting sites rundown. On this page you can learn more about VIP wagering, the perks of it, and if it is the right fit for you. Finally, for those uncertain about which payment options are the best for them, the payment methods guide is a fantastic page. Here you can see all kinds of deposit and withdrawal options for methods ranging from crypto to more traditional banking routes.
About the Author
As a devout aficionado of sports, Chris Boline has carved a career within the athletic realm. A skilled scribe, he boasts a decade-long portfolio that encompasses coverage of the NBA G League, the Los Angeles Chargers, football in the Mountain West Conference, and basketball.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Chris is deeply invested in his community and dedicates his leisure hours to serving on boards, collaborating with community organizations, and cherishing the company of loved ones.
Read Chris’s Profile
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