1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Monday “Aztecs Version of March Madness”
“Aztecs Basketball-Different March Madness”
It wasn’t really a work of art.
More like a smudged finger painting.
This San Diego State win over Utah State was messy, ugly..not sexy…not sharp..not pretty. They won the Mountain West Conference basketball title again.
They scrapped, scratched, scrambled and survived to move on to the NCAA tourney..
They faced an 11-point deficit and came back to take an 8-point -point lead.
It was hard to watch. Utah State driving to the rim, getting a ton of close in baskets. San Diego State getting virtually no points in the paint or around the basket. Their bigs getting out rebounded. A lousy first half shooting. No three’s either. They surely did not look like an NCAA tournament team.
But the game is 40-minutes long, and despite the deficit, there still was time to find a hero, and they did.
Here came the bench bunch. First came AG Aroup who changed the chemistry of the game. In split seconds that turned into a 6-minute reign of terror, Aroup had 2-baskets, a key rebound, a block, a steal. Next thing you know SDSU was on a 13-3 run.
Then Jaedon Ledee roared off the bench. Buckets, boards, banging people on defense. When he was done, it was 13-points and 10-rebounds worth of play.
And down the stretch, SDSU hit 9-free throws in the final two minutes to stave off whatever an out of gas Utah State team was trying to do.
The game was marred by long instant replay reviews. In Logan, Utah, they think they got screwed on a 3-point basket that sure looked like it beat the shot clock. But they hit just 2-baskets in a 13-minute span.
But the Aggies could just not cope with the in your face, on your body, defensive pressure that SDSU displayed the entire second half.
The Utags had 7-points in 15 minutes, and that was with some really good long distance shooters on the floor. When it was over USU went (4-for-22) long distance. Their top 3-scorers at one point were (4-24) shooting during much of the game
State shot 30% in the opening half and finished the night shooting 33% for the night. But if that was black mark on the offense, the defense got a blue ribbon for what they did, regardless of whom was on the floor
You can look at SDSU’s profile, and ask how could they be (27-6) on the season, but that is doing a disservice to their personality, their dedication, the work ethic and the style of play this season. What a coaching job, what a roster willing to work.
In all the great years SDSU has had in the Steve Fisher-Brian Dutcher era, this might be the best defensive team to wear the Red & Black.
Now they face a first round opponent that shoots tons of 3’s and runs the ball.. The College of Charleston went (31-3) but did not play the type of Quad 1-games that SDSU played all year.
State will have to have somebody score next week. But Charleston may have a tough time getting good looks and hitting their usual threes. You ever try to shoot a basketball long distance with guys bodying you, slapping passes, leaning on you out on the wings, and coming at you with all their length?
Come Thursday afternoon, look across the court and see the glazed look in the eyes of players from the College of Charleston.
I am sure some form of abstract art exists out there that looks like a smudged fingerpainting.
San Diego State does not authorize Rembrandt’s, Picassos, pastels or watercolors.
That’s just the state of Aztecs basketball in 2023. Not pretty but pretty damn good. SDSU gives us a different brand of March Madness.