San Diego State’s two marquee sports programs were both on the floor at Viejas Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Aztecs football team, fresh off a gut-check victory in the Mountain West title game, was there to take a victory lap and soak up deserved applause at halftime. The Aztecs men’s basketball team, fresh off road losses to Loyola Chicago and Grand Canyon, was there to get run by a trash Pac-12 team amid a chorus of boos.
At this point, I can think of only one thing the two squads have in common: Both teams will play their next meaningful game in Las Vegas.
For the hoops team, the next 22 games are now essentially glorified exhibitions, affecting only seeding in the Mountain West Conference Tournament (not that one side of that bracket is going to be tougher than the other). It probably was already, but the MWC is officially a 1-bid league; a purifying corpse befouling the college hoops landscape, and we are doing absolutely nothing to mitigate the stench.
All that matters now is peaking at the right time to win in Vegas and garner the sweet, sweet 13 seed that comes with cutting down the net. As it stands now, I have zero confidence SDSU will be the team holding the scissors.
This was the worst loss of the season to date. The previous three defeats were on the road, in tough or weird environments and against teams that were at least good if you squint. ASU, which just waltzed out of the Madhouse on the Mesa with a 74-63 win, ain’t anything special.
What’s becoming increasingly clear is that we aren’t either.
After careful consideration, I think I’ve figured out what’s gone wrong with this edition of the Aztecs. I think it might have something to do with the fact that, while it is a fine collection of individual talent, this team isn’t very good at anything. Or put more succinctly:
The trademark of SDSU in the Steve Fisher era has been a dogged defense predicated on both athleticism and relentlessness. The Sun Devils, who trailed by 7 at the half, scored 49 (!!) points after intermission and looked damn comfortable doing it. The Aztecs now haven’t held a Division I opponent under 65 points since the season opener.
The Aztecs don’t seem to be particularly tough in the paint, either. Zylan Cheatham was overmatched and flustered against ASU’s bigs, tallying only one more rebound (5) than turnover (4). Malik Pope got in early foul trouble and then disappeared. Valentine Izundu also appeared in this game according to the box score.
Both of those deficiencies could possibly be overcome if SDSU had lights-out outside shooting capable of hahahahahahahahah oh god I can’t event finish this sentence.
What does that leave, exactly?
At least the weather here is nice, I guess.
See what I mean? That’s quite comfortable. S-D-S-U AZTECS FIGHT!!
It seems even SDSU men’s basketball bloggers are broken. Check out this garbage some asshole wrote less than two weeks ago. I’m starting to think that post might not age so well!
Lesson learned, dear reader. Lesson learned.
Meanwhile, at halftime …
I think I need a valium.
The Aztecs host Alabama State in the first of 22 exhibition games at 7 p.m. on Monday. No word on whether Shaquille O’Seal will be there, but you can be sure about 6,000 ticketholders won’t be.