These schedule fillers, the NCAA Division II and D-III and NAIA opponents, are not all the same.
Academy of Art, the D-II program that the Fresno State men's basketball team dispatched with ease back in November, was not particularly talented or skilled.
The Urban Knights hadn't won a game then, and six weeks later are 3-14. But the Cal State San Marcos team that will play the Bulldogs tonight at the Save Mart Center is built a little differently, filled with D-I transfers and capable of giving Fresno State more of a game than it anticipates before it returns to Western Athletic Conference play.
Included on the Cougars' roster is former Fresno State guard Tim Steed, who last season started 21 games for the Bulldogs, hit 50.7% of his shots (including a team-high 45.7% from behind the 3-point line) and was their third-highest scorer.
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"We're going to get a chance to see a team that is going to be similar to the type of team we're going to see on Saturday [at Nevada]," Bulldogs coach Rodney Terry said.
"They've got some athleticism, they've got guys that can put pressure on the basket and they've got guys that have played at this level before.
"They're not going to walk in this building and be intimidated. They've got a team full of guys that have played at the Division I level."
San Marcos (12-8) also has guard Jose Rivera, who played 23 minutes per game last season at Pacific; guard Jacob Ranger, who played in 15 games at UC Davis in 2010; and guard Jamel McGuire, who played in 16 games at Cal State Fullerton two seasons ago.
Freshman forward Korey Anderson (Clovis High) has played in 19 games for the Cougars.
Steed leads San Marcos in scoring, averaging 15.6 points per game, and in their first season of NAIA competition the Cougars have played at Nevada-Las Vegas and Brigham Young. They are coached by former Fresno State assistant and Fresno Pacific coach Jim Saia.
"They've done a nice job with this program in the first year and getting them to a high level," Terry said. "They were ranked in the Top 25 at one point during the season. They've got a good group."
It remains to be seen how much Fresno State (8-11) will get out of the game in an obvious look-ahead spot. Nevada is the early-season WAC leader.
The Wolf Pack tuned up against Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday and had some problems into the second half before winning 81-69 against the Mavericks, who played at Johnson & Wales in Denver and at Briar Cliff in Sioux City, Iowa, in its two previous games.
With the exception of a loss to Cal Poly in December at the end of finals week, the Bulldogs haven't had trouble with their focus game to game.
"We'll approach it no differently than we would our game on Saturday," Terry said. "It's a good game for us, a highly-contested competitive game for us."