“Mad at March Madness-Why?”
Root root root for the home team. Not this time. Too many negatives surrounding San Diego State’s basketball season, coupled with a truckload of negatives about their friends in the conference.
Yes the Aztecs went (25-9), but they lost back to back games to Fresno State, including the conference championship game. End of NCAA tourney hope.
Yes, their RPI suffered, tumbling to “42” because it was such a weak Mountain West Conference season.
State beat just 1-top-50 team, the young Cal Golden Bears, very early in the season with their two fab freshman. You wouldn’t want to play the Bears now. SDSU had just 3-wins against teams in the top 100 this season.
Equally damaging, four home court losses, the dreary time in December, haunted by home losses to Arkansas Little Rock and Grand Canyon, and a (9-21) USD Toreros team.
SDSU played big time defense all season long. Number 1-in defense in points allowed for a large segment of the season. Ranked inside the top 5-for much of the year in defensive shooting percentage. Superb rebounding and shot blocking. None of that is sexy.
What they needed was sex appeal scoring with the basketball. It never really came together. Plagued by turnovers, haunted by erratic 3-point shooting, and struggling with injuries, it really disrupted the offensive continuity.
Equally troubling the fact the ‘bigs’, Angelo Chol and Skylar Spencere never ever improved their offensive games over the course of their careers. There were games the two combined for just 2-or-3 baskets over 40-minutes of play.
Veteran big man Winston Sheppard had some great nights, but an alarming number of MIA games, for someone with such experience.
The injury to 3-point artist Matt Shrigley was a real setback. He grew so much at the end of last year, then the devasting off season knee injury. He had just 1-good shooting game upon his late season return. A tough loss.
The Mountain West was a mess, but that is cyclical. New Mexico lost a bunch of veteran players last year. Colorado State got hit by NBA defections. UNLV lost games, lost recruits, lost its head coach.
They will be back and the challenge now, can Boise State and Nevada-Reno continue to elevate themselves? These other schools need to do their duty and upgrade schedules outside of the conference, and find a way to win those games.
Steve Fisher has done his job making the Aztecs elite in the conference. The rest of these coaches have to their share now to raise the awareness of the Mountain West.
No whining allowed. SDSU did not grow on offense during the season. They wasted a great defensive effort. In what really turned out to be a transition year, in the back-court, next year will be the same along the baseline.
25-wins is a nice accomplishment, just not the way we’ve come to expect a Fisher led team to finish the season. Kawahi Leonard and Jamal Russell were special, as were DJ Gay, Richie Williams and so many more.
The Aztecs will be back in the upper echelon. Let’s see if this group can put together a string of wins, and wind up at Madison Square Garden. That would be a nice bow on the 25-win season.
We expect alot out of the program now. Don’t be mad about March Madness and the selection process. Just be happy with what the product has become.