Aztecs–U Conn–NCAA Title”
We are hours away from the biggest game in San Diego State basketball history.
Who wants to be the next hero at SDSU? In this run thru March Madness, pick a player, he has been the catalyst for a critical win. Nathan Mensah to Darrion Trammell and now Lamont Butler.
His buzzer beater square up jumper with 0.6-left on the clock was artistry at its best. So was the comeback from a 14-point deficit when SDSU looked as if the season was over.
But the bigs came off the bench and made it happen again. Jaedon Ledee’s 2-baskets in :28-late in the game. AG Aroup getting from 4-baskets in a strong armed second half
In its vintage defensive performance, State took apart Florida Atlantic in the second half with a (35-12) burst. They held them to 1-basket in (4:03). The Owls had 1-basket in the final 8-possessions
At one stretch in the first half, Mensah and Ledee had a combined 7-fouls. They never got whistled again;
They got 27-points from the bench bunch. The shot 44% from the floor. Hit a surprising 9-3’s in the game.
They are at a point they have never been before. There have been good years, big wins and lots of bad basketball too, around here. And think about this, San Diego, a failed NBA city, which has now lost its NFL team, has become a basketball mecca up on the hill on campus, in the chaos of Viejas Arena. Can you believe San Diego is a basketball city?
You walk down this hallway only once in your life, and this collection of shooters, rebounders, transfers, overachievers and gritty guys, are 40-minutes away from a dream of a lifetime.
Brian Dutcher has carried on in the tradition of Steve Fisher-wins and wins and wins, years after years.
We have experienced some flashes of success before, dating back to a small college San Diego State team in 1940. The Smokey Gaines era of excitement. Nice wins under Tim Vezie.
But nothing like this, ever.
Here comes U-Conn, steam rolling everyone infront of them. In the tourney the margin of victory is amazing, wins of 13-15-23-24-28. The Huskies have beaten up and buried St Mary’s, Arkansas, and Gonzaga.
They are big, athletic, fearless and average not just 78 points a game, but also 9-baskets from the 3-point line a night. And they have the best big man in the nation in 6’9-Adama Sanoga.
And of course U-Conn carries enormous history onto the floor, four NCAA titles already thanks to Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie.
We know how the SDSU chemistry goes. A different hero a night.
U Conn does not know what it is about to face.
The Huskies guards are their weak link. How do they hold up to the 40-minutes of hell the Red & Black will unleash on those guards.?
How will U Conn keep Sanoga out of foul trouble considering the Aztecs have 20-fouls to use getting the ball on the block, or going for every rebound all night long?
How does Dan Hurley, a passion play coach, hold up against the even-keel approach of Brian Dutcher down the other end of the floor?
The college basketball season started with 363-teams playing on opening night. 2-are left, the Aztecs and Huskies. An amazing accomplishment, and even more amazing if they are cutting the nets on Monday night.
A night to remember, maybe a night to never forget, just around the corner from San Diego State.