Justin Hutson earns long-overdue head coaching position, commits vile treason

Remember a few weeks ago when Fresno State’s men’s basketball coach got poached by UTEP and we all laughed and laughed? Seriously … UTEP! The one in El Paso!

Well it’s not so funny anymore, is it?*

Congrats?

Continue reading “Justin Hutson earns long-overdue head coaching position, commits vile treason”

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Max Montana to look fabulous in Europe next year, not San Diego

Farewell to Max Montana, the streakiest, stylin’-est shooter San Diego State men’s basketball has ever known.

Montana, who is graduating this summer despite one year of eligibility remaining, plans to hoop professionally in the European Union, where he can already work legally. He should do well there, both on the court where his versatile game should translate, and in the continent’s many bastions of sophisticated style and culture. Lord knows his wardrobe is ready.

You know … everyone assumes Max is going to go play in Germany, because of his family roots, but I’m thinking Milan.

Or Ibiza. Does Ibiza have a team?

Continue reading “Max Montana to look fabulous in Europe next year, not San Diego”

Jalen McDaniels dips toe in NBA waters, will probably (hopefully?) return

Jalen McDaniels will absolutely play for the San Diego State men’s basketball team next season. Definitely. Probably.

/bites fingernails down to bloody nubs

Continue reading “Jalen McDaniels dips toe in NBA waters, will probably (hopefully?) return”

Game Recap: Aztecs redeem season to nowhere, punch tickets to NCAA Tournament

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Never in doubt.

One month ago, Brian Dutcher was a lousy hire. He was in over his head and had obviously lost the locker room. All was lost. #FIREDUTCHER

About that.

Lest you think this is some kind of self-satisfied blog version of a subtweet, here’s some Valentine’s Day snark from yours truly which I will now officially own up to.

Nice tweet, dipshit.

One month ago, Trey Kell was a tragic story. The San Diego native was a key part of a vaunted recruiting class that disappointed, producing diminishing returns every single season. The tragedy was capped with a cruel senior campaign that saw him injured and sick and injured again.

About that.

Today, the first-year head coach and the hometown senior capped off one of the most stirring comeback stories in San Diego State sports history, beating the New Mexico Lobos in an excruciating-thrilling-horrible-wonderful 82-75 come-from-behind victory in the Mountain West Tournament title game in Vegas. The Aztecs will go to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons thanks to an improbable nine-game winning streak that had the kind of redemption arcs you only see in sports movies where the main character is a golden retriever or a field goal kicking mule.

I am, as the kids say, shook.

And it feels fucking incredible.

Continue reading “Game Recap: Aztecs redeem season to nowhere, punch tickets to NCAA Tournament”

Game Recap: Aztecs mercilessly pummel Nevada, reach tournament final

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Schadenfreude courtesy @CT2SD.

Back  when things looked bleak for San Diego State men’s basketball, I would often try to break up all the bitter text in my grim recaps with a few visual aids. One of my favorite crutches was the win probability chart, because, hey, why expend brainpower writing angry words about another brutal loss when you can let a line graph tell the grim tale for you.

Anyway, here is what those charts looked like back then.

Say, would you like to see the win probability chart for the Aztecs’ Mountain West Conference semifinal game against the University of Nevada-Reno on Thursday night?

That is not a graph, that is pornography. That is exactly the kind of dangerous smut the Kansas City Royals were trying to warn us about  and you should probably clear your browser’s search history immediately.

Continue reading “Game Recap: Aztecs mercilessly pummel Nevada, reach tournament final”

Game Recap: Aztecs advance to semis as vintage defense smothers Fresno State

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The Brian Dutcher era at San Diego State started with talk of surrendering defense to facilitate scoring, and that talk mostly came to fruition. This year we’ve seen a faster tempo on offense, running in transition and jacking 3-pointers with impunity. At times it has been beautiful and thrilling. At others — all of late January and early February, for instance — it has been a galling disaster.

In the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament, we saw our Aztecs revert to a more familiar form. The Aztecs didn’t beat Fresno State on Thursday afternoon with transition buckets or long range marksmanship or anything even vaguely aesthetically pleasing. Instead, as Steve Fisher looked on approvingly from the stands, they brought out their pool cues and tire irons to beat Fresno back onto their team bus.

This game — a 64-52 final — was physical, offensively challenged and generally ugly as sin. If this was the first college basketball game I had ever watched, it might have been enough to steer me away from ever watching another one. But it was vintage SDSU.

Continue reading “Game Recap: Aztecs advance to semis as vintage defense smothers Fresno State”

Game Recap: KAM ROOKS (and others) beat Nevada on senior night

Rooks
Rooks.

I’ve muttered under my breath about Kameron Rooks at times this season. I’ve yelled at my TV for him to be removed from games. I’ve even poked a little good-natured fun at him on the popular website Twitter dot com. Chances are you have done these things, too.

It’s been a pretty rough year for the graduate transfer from Cal. He’s averaging just two points per game, and with the emergence of Jalen McDaniels and Nolan Narain, he has found himself increasingly garnering the dreaded DNP-coach’s decision.

I’ve always felt a little bad about metaphorically dunking on Rooks, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, he’s unpaid labor who doesn’t owe us shit. For another … well … it’s not like he doesn’t want to be more productive. Being the guy on a popular basketball team who everybody grumbles about has to kind of suck, right?

Rooks is, to use some absolutely loathsome sports-speak, what he is. He’s a 7-foot-1 Pac-12 recruit who looks like he should be better but just … isn’t. And even though it’s not his fault, it makes us angry! We think basketball is supposed to be easy when you’re that crazy tall, and we dismiss what freakish athleticism you need to be agile and nimble at that size.

All of this made Rooks’ glorious game of redemption tonight so damn satisfying.

Continue reading “Game Recap: KAM ROOKS (and others) beat Nevada on senior night”

Game Recap: Pope returns, Aztecs beat Boise State

The lifting of Malik Pope’s quasi-suspension on Tuesday probably did not change a lot in the grand scheme of things. The San Diego State men’s basketball team is still a long shot to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament (though certainly not as hopeless a long shot as before). It remains out of NCAA at-large contention. It probably isn’t going to make the NIT field, either.

But Brian Dutcher’s decision to reinstate Pope after the conclusion of the program’s internal investigation into the star senior’s borrowing habits did this much: It breathed needed life into Viejas Arena and created a fun, memorable Tuesday night in late February.

And you know, what? I’ll take that.

Continue reading “Game Recap: Pope returns, Aztecs beat Boise State”