“Aztecs Hoops–Real Deal”
The march towards ‘March Madness’ begins on Wednesday night in Ft-Collins, as SDSU opens the conference season by playing at Colorado State.
The Aztecs are off to an (8-0) start, coming off wins in the Las Vegas Invitational against Iowa and Creighton. They have claimed in the basketball ratings services by virtue of the start, and right now are projected to be a 7th seed. Of course that all changes based on wins and losses in conference play.
And now straight ahead, it’s Colorado State and the start of the rugged Mountain West Conference schedule.
SDSU has not had an (8-0) start since the 2010-Kawhi Leonard team. They have never played well in Ft-Collins either, going (13-26) in its history, but since the arrival of Steve Fisher and then Brian Dutcher, the Aztecs have won 10-of-14 at Moby Arena.
(Coach Brian Dutcher comments):
..Finished 5-games in 10-days…now just 5-games in month of December.
..Colorado State-much better than thought would be…alot of freshman on same page
..Rams won 4-straight games and this is not hype.
..We have a plan to be better defensively…we worked hard enough to get good
..Offensively we had a lot of pieces..we had to get on game floor and see it work
..Team has grit, coming from 9-or-16 behind to win.
..We have mental toughness to withstand a team’s mental punch..it is a good sign
..We have 5th year seniors..4th year juniors…we have experience and it helps
..Need to get Keshad Johnson- a talented freshman-to get up to speed to get on floor
..We need to get our fast break better…we need to work on our zone defense
..As season goes on-we find strengths we did not know we had-put set plays in.
..Envision 3-transfers-we knew Malachi Flynn can score at a high level
..He is a better passer than I thought…8-10 assist games
..Yonni Wetzell is a good low post scorer with experience..he is hard to defend..passes well
..KJ Feagin still finding his way with this group.
..Fort Collins..we arrive 24-36 hours ahead of schedule…Hydrate players-helps
..We have deep lineup to withstand catching your breath at altitude
..Strange playing conference game so early-interesting twist…this will be our hardest game…usually non conference…conference…then post season…
..Earliest ever opened a conference game on schedule
..We will see their absolute best when we face Rams who have those wins
..There are landmines everywhere on our schedule-regardless of what metrics say
..We have to be prepared if we have injuries…hurdles to still face
..We won 5-games in 10-days…can we win 5-games in the next month
..Certain years- at Colorado State when Tim Miles-Larry Eustachy were there-a very hard place to go play….it will be a good crowd.
..Not being ranked yet doesn’t upset players…we have to stay grounded and keep winning.
..We are scratching the surface of who we could be…lessons to be learned.
..The Mountain West….Utah State is a mystery because of injury…New Mexico beat Wisconsin..Boise beat BYU…Colorado State freshman playing at a higher level.
..Get thru an 18-game Mountain West season-altitude-travel-environment is hard…I watch our team and at times they are running in quick-sand….alitutde is tough….Travel is tough…we don’t charter….Fly to Denver-bus to Ft-Collins….There is a difference between our team and others around the nation in terms of challenges.
…I think our 10-deep depth will help us a lot going against the elements-especially the altitude…
..Beauty of team I have are the guys off the bench role playing well…
..Play to your strengths…play your role…
..Sharing the ball-going to your strength…
..Shooting specialist…defensive personality..we are developing role guys
..Being ranked gives us national identity…you like that.
.,Playing altitude-very mental aspect to game
..Every team comes out to play hard…wear you out
..Tjams will push the ball and the tempo in altitude
..Moby Arena tough place to breathe-altitude-smoke
..Not worried about altitude nor our toughness
..Don’t have to change how we play because where we play
..Stay mental strong…fight thru if we get tired
..3-transfers-these guys come in with open minds-they want to win
..Definitely tough places to play in MWC-guys ready to go to war
..Winning against Creighton-Iowa has helped us a great deal
..We positioned ourself to be NCAA tourney team-just have to keep winning
..Aztecs positioned to be a 7th seed-but lots of games still left to play
..Our mindset-not worry about past…look at every game individually
..Not being ranked-we continue to win-we will get ranked
..Hottest start since Kawhi Leonard was here-live in moment-achieve something great