The San Diego State basketball team has the best record in the country since the start of the last season, 35-2. They are undefeated this season at 5 - 0.Yet they still get no respect nationally.
It is the same every year. Despite being a perennial Mountain West champion and NCAA participant, the East Coast media does their best to forget them every off season, hoping they will go away so that they can focus on their bluebloods, Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky.
This upstart West Coast team never quite fits their narrative or gets their due respect, or at least only grudgingly at the end of the season.
The Aztecs lead Division I with a non conference winning streak that stands at 17 and a road win tally that now stands at 13. Today they finally ascended in the polls, to 18th in the A.P..
It is funny, the basketball writers still only want to talk about Gonzaga or UCLA when they talk left coast. SDSU has handled the Bruins easily the last two times they played them. Yet Ken Pom still wants to rank the beaten Bruins over the Aztecs. They are one of four teams nationally to have beaten two top twenty five opponents, after dismantling #23 ASU the other night. Their defensive prowess, year in and year out, is legendary. You don't play defense, you don't play.
The team is not perfect. They are a little short at the post, after Mensah and Maryland transfer Tomiac. But everybody is improving and if northern California phenom Keshad Johnson can get his act together and play consistently they will be a joy to watch and probably have yet another exceptional year.
I thought Mitchell would dominate this year but surprisingly it is Schakel, a deadly wing shooter who has suddenly found the rest of the game and is not afraid to drive to the basket. Mensah is a beast in the low post, scoring 17 points and snaring 15 rebounds in his last game. Prematurely halted in his progress by a pulmonary embolism last year, this guy looks like he is now capable of stardom.
Looking forward to another great year from Coach Brian Dutcher and his team.
As a Kentucky graduate and rabid fan, I have to admit you're right. The Aztecs should be a top-line national hoops story. I love my Wildcats, but I also love the college hoops game and SDSU is doing it right.
I remember the 1966 championship game between my hometown Texas Western team featuring David Latin and Kentucky very well. I believe that Pat Riley played for Rupp that year.
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