“Aztecs Basketball–Never Been There”
San Diego State basketball is in unchartered waters. They’ve never been there before, with the potential to go higher..
The Aztecs try to make it 20-wins in a row on Tuesday night facing Wyoming. They do so carrying the label, Ranked 4th in the nation, in this week’s AP basketball poll.
They rocketed up the poll after the teams infront of them, Duke, Auburn and Butler were each beaten twice in games last week.
Steve Fisher’s Aztecs were ranked 4th in 2011 at the height of the Jamal Russell era. Oddly during the Kawahi Leonard run, they never got that high.
But this is a very different Aztecs team. The talent base is not reliant on one player. It’s job responsibility is spread among a lot of different players. Yanni Wentzel, Malachi Flynn, Mat Mitchell, Nathan Mensah, KJ Feagin have all had nights to carry the load.
The team’s defensive stats are in neon lights. Opposing teams shooting 36%, averaging just 56-points a game, only 27% from the three point line, 287-turnovers this year,, 125-steals and 60-blocked shots. SDSU wears teams out with the defensive pressure, making you grind for every quality shot, for open looks, and challenging a team’s ability to cope with 60-miutes of hell.
Running the table is possible, though SDSU has to face UNLV and Nevada on the road, has Utah State’s erratic Aggies coming in here to play, and still must go to the Pit to play New Mexico.
But this is quality basketball, in a year in which there have been 7-different number one teams in the first 10-polls of the campaign.
Coach Brian Dutcher’s comments:
..We climbed to 4th poll….great for San Diego State basketball brand
..We have bigger target on our back
..We have matured team….Look at what happened to 3-4-5 teams
..Winning-losing is paper thin in
..Always thing we’d be good on paper when opening night happened
..Maturity help us win games early
..Needed to find our grit…come from behind wins BYU-Iowa…it has worked out
..2011-team..if they played each other…it would be something.
..2011-alot of great depth-experience on Kawhi-DJ Gay team
..Was really good defensive team..that team had great length
..Our team are ballhawks-got better and better-did worry about our size
..Our team never talks about comparison to Kawhi Leonard team
..Good group-don’t have to micromanage it
..We can be on the cusp of losing-so our players do focus
..Don’t over-react to it…if things go bad…work make it better
..Nevada shot 14% in second half because we tweaked-made adjustments
..Mountain West…Tams 2-thru-11 struggling…teams getting better some
..MWC teams need to win non conference…wins vs LSU and Wisconsin
..If you are good defensively-you are in two places at
..Nathan Mensah..is working out on the floor-hope to get him back by end of year.
Yanni Wetzel–KJ Feagin
..It’s crazy-national recognition…have that number beside our name
..We have to stay grounded-stay focuses…prepare like champions
..We are part of something special-memories in campus and in city
..We turned corner after comeback from BYU win…thought be special team
..We rely on lots of players
..Bearting BYU, then Iowa made this season special
..Those wins showed us defense wins championships
..Our 3-transfers know our roles…fit them perfectly…willing sacrifice personal needs
..Transferring here close to home
..Coach Dutcher is perfect coach-let me be myself
..Breaking 20-game win streak-super excited to get the chance at that
..Whatever record we get-we are not chasing record-just wins each night
..Different dynamic from last year…transfers came from losing program-knows feels like
..Our mission is to win.
..The chemistry has been great with all the transfers
..Coach Dutcher knows how to handle egos…he gets us all involved
..That Kawhi Leonard team was stacked
..I knew the whole Steve Fisher era…Fab 5…then the Kawhi Leonard time here..wow.
..I was so impressed with Steve Fisher defense first philosophy
..If we played the Kawhi team…it would be tough across the board-great length
..We’d use up all our fouls on Kawhi
..Yanni-entered transfer portal..I knew SDSU reputation
..My visit was huge..Coach Dutcher was huge…like family atmosphere
..Coming off (0-18) in SEC…much more appreciative of everything we have
..Wanted to come to law school here too.