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Greater Egret

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Let's go Aztecs!

Matt Mitchell
The San Diego State University Aztecs basketball team is now 30-1, after yesterday's big win against Boise State. They have been at the top or near the top of the NCAA NET metric for much of the season. They are ranked number four nationally at the predictive ranking site KenPom.

They beat Boise State the same way they have been winning other games of late, spotting the opponent a big lead, then setting the drag and methodically reeling them in in the second half.

They are currently ranked five in the A.P. and the Coaches Poll. They have big time wins against BYU and Iowa, beat Creighton by thirty one points.

They hold a number one seed position in the big dance, although one with an asterisk because the NCAA wants them to fly to New York and play in the East, where they will have to face number two seeded Duke, a team with a large fan contingent in New York.

This is because the NCAA committee likes Gonzaga little bit better. This is unfortunate. It is a real disadvantage to travel east and the Aztecs might actually be better off with a number two seed in the west.

They are doing all this without their pivotal big man, Nathan Mensah, who has been sidelined since early in the season with an embolism in his lung.

The Aztecs, a team built with experienced transfers, are a very good and unselfish group that plays incredible defense and is blessed with extremely good shooters. Their lone post player, Yanni Wetzell, is a Kiwi blessed with very agile feet. At times lately it seems like they forget about him and rely too much on their perimeter game. His backups in the post, Nolan Narain, Joel Mensah and Aguek Arop, have not been terribly effective of late.

SDSU has lost exactly one game, by three points, to UNLV. I was there. Predictably, ever since, the East Coast media machine is trying their hardest to diminish their ranking and reputation, dropping them down to seventh in the ESPN BPI, below a nine loss Michigan State team and the newest two loss media darling, Dayton. Or a four loss Baylor team, also ranked above them, a team that just lost to unranked West Virginia.

Malachi Flynn
I think this is very foolish. There are some very good teams in the Mountain West, including Utah State, a very dangerous next opponent in the conference final, now sporting a 25-8 record.

And any team that can win thirty games is Division 1 against anybody is pretty damn good.

Unfortunately the Aztecs don't show up on the television sets of the east coast writers until they are long since in bed.

Which is fine. I don't think my Aztecs really care. And maybe it would be better to lose a meaningless final and end up with a better two seed in the west. But they are a proud team that plays best with their backs up against the wall, my guess is that they will take care of business today.

I think all the people trying to diminish their quality based on one loss by a mere three points will have to backtrack and shut their mouths when this thing is over. And they have an even better shot if Mensah can come back and rejoin the team for March Madness.

All of the putdowns by the Gary Parrish's, Joe Lunardi's and Kyle Soppe's of this world will only serve to motivate them. People have been counting this team out since before the season began. Fight on Aztecs!

1 comment:

Liz said...

When you were very young the Aztecs were at the top in football. I don't remember much about it because I was also very young. It was when we lived across from Montezuma elementary and were walking distance from the campus. Mom was going to school there at the time which is why I think I remember it