The San Diego State men’s basketball regular season — thus the official launch of the Brian Dutcher era — starts Friday! To get you sufficiently lit/hyped/demoralized/angry, the staff writers of Kabeer Thirty now offer our bold predictions on what the 2017-18 season has in store.
One caveat: Last year we proved to be pretty shitty prognosticators.
We’ll try to do better this time around. Hopefully the team does, too.
A return to the Big Dance
Regular season: 20-9
MWC tournament: Lose final to Nevada
Postseason: At-large 10 seed in NCAA tournament, lose in first round
Signature win: Gonzaga. The Zags aren’t who they were last year but are still a marquee program.
Bad loss: Bradley. Who is/are Bradley? Trap game.
MVP: Devin Watson. The transfer from USF was courted by Cal and Kansas, but only had eyes for the Mesa. After sitting out a year, he will be highly motivated to make a big impact at his new school. Watson averaged 20.3 points per game as a sophomore for a middling Dons team. Here’s hoping he can be the next X. Thames: a scorer and playmaker who leads by example.
Overview: It’s a new era of San Diego State men’s basketball, and none of us really know what to expect. What we do know is Brian Dutcher — after patiently serving as head-coach-in-waiting for seemingly his entire professional life — has a lot to prove. So far, he’s shown himself adept at maintaining the high level of recruiting set by his storied predecessor.
The perennial big question remains hanging over this team: can these guys shoot the basketball? The closed-door scrimmage win over USC holds promise, and with early games at ASU and quality opponents in the Wooden Legacy, we should find out pretty quickly.
I have high hopes for Aztecs hoops under Dutcher, and my prediction here is pretty conservative. A return to the NCAA Tournament, even with a first-round exit, would be a good building block for the program.
Regular season: 20-9
MWC Tournament: After last year’s semi-finals loss, we return to our proud tradition of losing in the final.
Postseason: NIT Quarterfinals. Lose to eventual NIT champion UConn.
Signature win: Cal. We beat Cal because we tend to beat Cal with relative frequency.
Bad loss: Aztecs slip up in Colorado Springs and drop one to Air Force. But after the final buzzer, the Falcons take off their masks and [GASP] THEY’RE ACTUALLY GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY IN DISGUISE. THIS CURSE WILL NEVER END.
MVP: Reports from practice and secret scrimmages allege that Trey Kell is now an unstoppable scoring machine. His performance in the UCSD preseason game did nothing to prove those claims wrong. The prodigal son of St Augustine High School takes home the crown. CRAFT BEER AND CONTESTED JUMP SHOTS. THAT’S WHAT NORTH PARK DOES.
Overview: As I wrote yesterday, last season has me more than a little disillusioned with SDSU basketball as a whole. Basketball season used to be the best five months of my year. But last season was a tedious chore of disappointment, the highlight of which was stacking a bunch of chairs on top of each other in Vegas.
It’s very unlikely this year’s team will be as bad as it was in 2016-17. But it was very unlikely that the 2016-17 would be as bad as they turned out to be, and that still happened. I don’t know what to expect. I just want to learn to love again.
Good day, sunshine
Regular season: 25-4
MWC Tournament: I’m going to be the Mr. Sunshine of the group (as I’m known to be generally) and say they win the motherfucker.
Postseason: They’ll get back where they belong, in the NCAA tournament, and have a respectable showing.
Signature win: GONZAGA
Bad loss: At Wyoming
MVP: Max Montana already won my team MVP for having the name of a gonzo porn director. I focus on the important things; is he a good shooter? is he a guy who puts everything he has into his performance? Am I reminded of pornography? That’s why I am on this serious sports website naming MAX MONTANA my preseason most valuable player.
Overview: So, I guess this is what they call a transitional season, eh? New players, new names for some of the players and perpetual coach-in-waiting Brian Dutcher finally taking over for Steve Fisher. It’s hard to imagine there being too much chaos related to the coaching change, being that if Fish was the foundation, Dutch was … something important to a structure that works along with the foundation. The frame? I’m not a contractor, for fuck’s sake.
It’s hard not to be excited about Jalen McDaniels. Jeremy Hemsley, Trey Kell and Malik Pope are still here, and are still going to make noise. If Watson comes as advertised, he could be the legitimate choice for MVP. There’s plenty to be concerned about, but I think this group could be an exciting bunch. I am milking the positivity a little as somewhat of a (dumb) bit, but I think/hope the frustrating Aztecs of the last few seasons are going to be just that.
Well, the good news is that we’re getting a banner!
Regular season: 22-7
MWC Tournament: SDSU reaches the final and appears to have an easy road after Nevada is upset by a nobody in the semis. The Aztecs proceed to lose to, like, Utah State or whoever, because that’s just how things work. The Aggies then lose by 57 points to Kansas.
Postseason: We get a third NIT Final Four banner. I hate those stupid NIT banners so much.
Signature win: Nevada x 2. Put me down for a season sweep of the conference favorites. It won’t matter, but it will get us all very excited at the time.
Bad loss: Boise State, on the road. This won’t be a bad loss in the traditional sense, but it will certainly be extremely annoying.
MVP: Malik Pope. Seriously, did no one say Malik yet? Dude is healthy and needs to show the NBA what he can do. He will. He’s going to thrive in the new tempo and bring us ample merriment and joy.
Overview: This may look like a negative prediction, but it really isn’t. I think the Aztecs are going to be really good, and show flashes of excellence at times. But the smoldering trash fire that is the Mountain West Conference is a cruel mistress. Stub your toe a couple of times at elevation and then fail to win three games in three days in March, and you’re basically screwed. We will be basically screwed.
Of course, if the FBI decides to arrest literally the entire sport of college basketball at some point this season, that may change the calculus some. So keep an eye on that.