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.
It was, to be clear, never a game. The Aztecs jumped out of the gate, leading 11-0, 16-2 and eventually 30-9 before JSU finally broke double-digits with 4:40 left before the half. Fresh off having their feckless zone defense torched by the Cyclones, SDSU was back to guarding like fiends. The Tigers shot just 25.9 percent and were harried into 23 turnovers.
On the other end, it was basically a flurry of cool-ass shit.
Matt Mitchell (15 points) drained three 3-pointers and added this Cirque du Soleil nonsense.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Hemsely was lobbing alley-oops to Jalen McDaniels — and later jamming them home from Devin Watson.
What went well for JSU (1-6)? The coach looked pretty sharp in his bowtie, I guess.
Even garbage time was kind of beautiful for the Aztecs, as their four long-as-hell true freshmen got considerable playing time — and the Tigers clearly didn’t want any part of that noise. The game’s closing minutes featured hustle, blocks, rebounding and Nathan Mensah jamming home a perfect lob from Ed Chang. It looked like the future, friends.
I suppose one silver lining of SDSU’s mostly garbage non-conference home slate is the ample seasoning the talented newbs will be able to accrue in blowouts. At least that’s how it turned out tonight. Watch your asses, Cal State Dominguez Hills and Brown.
The game didn’t really turn, per se. This was a buy-game drubbing from start to finish and I appreciate it for not bothering to pretend to be anything more interesting than that.
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What’s next for the basketball Tecs
SDSU receives one last chance to get completely boned by the MWC/MVC Challenge before it’s relegated to the dustbin of mid-major scheduling gimmick history. The Aztecs head to (/does Google search) Normal, Illinois on Saturday afternoon to face Illinois State.
Don’t sleep on the Redbirds who are 5-2 with a win over Boise State. This game is almost certain to be hella dumb and annoying. Win or lose you will hate it intensely, that’s a promise.