Men’s basketball’s new NET rankings, the long-awaited replacement for RPI, had a bit of a bumpy launch this week with a bizarre Top 10 and math nerds saying very unkind things about the formula. After watching the telecast of tonight’s action at Viejas Arena, I’ll give the new rankings system this: Jackson State at 349 seems … about right.
San Diego State, which debuted at 96 in NET after losing by 30 to Iowa State in Maui last week, regrouped to crush the Tigers 87-44 in a performance as pretty as the Aztecs’ turquoise Native American Heritage Month unis. Or nearly as pretty, anyway.
Jordan Schakel works some magic and gets the and-1.
Maybe there was nothing of real consequence on the line Saturday night as the Aztecs played out the string against Hawai’i. We walked into the Tombstone with some concern that a seven-win SDSU team in the improved Mountain West could get left without a bowl bid. That’s possible, though consensus seems to be that the only bowl-eligible team in Southern California will merit a forgettable postseason invite.
But in a larger sense, the 31-30 overtime loss felt like the night our legends and myths dissipated into mist before our eyes.
What: Football game Who: Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors at San Diego State Aztecs When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday Where: SDCCU Stadium TV: ESPNU Line: SDSU -17.5
The Stakes At first glance, this appears to be a meaningless play-out-the-string game before a meaningless lower-tier bowl game. Turns out, the full picture is even more depressing! With a likely overflow of bowl-eligible teams and the Mountain West possibly having seven eligible teams for its five (mostly lousy) bowl tie-ins, SDSU likely needs to win its eighth game to be sure of bring invited to a meaningless lower-tier bowl game. You’ve got to work for that trip to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, kids!
If they lose? The Aztecs might need a few things to break their way for the season to not end in ignominious fashion. In short: DEATH TO ALL 5-WIN TEAMS.
So it has come to this: your Get the Tecs to a Crappy Bowl Game weekend rooting guide. Most important games are bolded. pic.twitter.com/vb6S0lNKpT
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I need to get cooking, so I’m going to go ahead and give this Game Recap roughly the same effort as the San Diego State men’s basketball Aztecs put forth in their third and final game of the Maui Invitational.
First the good news: Despite getting stomped 87-57 by Iowa State this morning/afternoon, the Aztecs do not need to give back their impressive Tuesday win against Xavier. At least I think they don’t. Perhaps someone should consult the rule book just to be sure?
A little after noon Pacific time, I was in a pretty dark place. Well, I was at work, so that goes without saying. But more so than usual even!
In my head, I was already crafting a depressing game recap about how the Aztecs were on the verge of being cast into the sea at the Maui Invitational. How the hunt for a quality nonconference win was looking grim. How one day after getting their doors blown off by No. 1 Duke, the Aztecs responded by getting their doors blown off by a team that was very decidedly not Duke.
Don’t get me wrong, Xavier is a solid Big East foe, but when you’re getting run by 19 in the first half against the Musketeers, many people would consider that time to panic.
Instead, Jalen McDaniels decided it was time to grab himself some plate lunch and fuckin’ eat.
McDaniels scored a career-high 26 points as the Aztecs roared to within three at halftime and then dominated the game’s final 15 minutes for a 79-74 win — a thrilling national TV showcase for both an NBA prospect and a team looking to build an at-large resume.
What a comeback for San Diego State. Jalen McDaniels carries the Aztecs to a come from behind win over Xavier in Maui. Musketeers are now 2-3 overall.
Look man, what do you want from me here? Would you like me to break down the deficiencies, misplays and tactical errors that led to the Aztecs’ 90-64 loss to No. 1 Duke in the opening round of the Maui Invitational? Why?
That would be a little like picking apart the structural deficiencies of a really nice sports car that just got demolished by a BNSF freight train. If you don’t want your ride to get wrecked, keep it off the damn tracks. But with the Aztecs in harm’s way amid the deepest Maui field ever, here we are.
Duke, as they say, is Duke —but this year’s freshman-laden squad is extremely Duke, save for two big differences:
They amazingly don’t have anyone on the roster who stands out as extremely punchable.
They somehow possess more raw talent and offensive firepower than we’re used to seeing. From Duke.
Barring injury or major upset, the Blue Devils are probably going to cruise to the National Championship in March. Coach K’s guys started their season by pummeling Kentucky by 34 points. Let it be known, for the record, that the Duke Blue Devils did not beat the Aztecs by that many points (SUCK IT, KENTUCKY), nor did they win wire-to-wire.
What: Football game Who: San Diego State Aztecs at Fresno State Bulldogs When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday Where: Bulldog Stadium TV: CBS Sports Network Line: Fresno State -13
All the remaining marbles. SDSU stays mathematically alive for a conference championship with a win; a loss sends the Aztecs home with no Oil Can and only a bottom-tier bowl bid to look forward to.