Coming into this Saturday’s game against Illinois State (alma mater of Steve Fisher, who used to pass out free tickets to students in his first year as San Diego State head coach) in Normal, Illinois, it was not yet entirely clear how good this Aztecs men’s basketball team is.
We know they’re “good” but with three wins over three bad teams, one win over a good team, and two blowout losses to two very good/great teams, they had yet to make a significant impact – positive or negative – on their tournament resume.
While they have a long way to go until March, SDSU added what will probably end up being a pretty solid win with a 75-65 victory over the Redbirds and improve their season record to 5-2.
With 10:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, New Mexico threw a touchdown to go up 23-14 on San Diego State and I reached for my laptop to write this here recap, which at the time was an obituary for a once-promising season.
Despite getting back their stud running back and the winningest QB in program history, the Aztecs’ offense couldn’t stay on the field and the defense could only hold for so long. SDSU was going to lose in Albuquerque to a definitely crappy Lobos team and be effectively eliminated for the Mountain West title race. The season was dead.
Here’s the thing about Boise: if you’ve read about how it’s been the fastest growing city in the US for three years running, and tons of big companies are moving there, bringing an influx of money and youth, and it’s a low-key progressive city in a historically hyper-conservative region and they have a great downtown bar scene with a ton of great breweries, well, to be honest, there’s good chance you could be a bit underwhelmed.
BUT… if you were unaware of all the above narratives and your only knowledge of the city is that it’s the capital of Idaho and there’s a big, blue football field… well then holy shit what a fun surprise this city is pretty cool!
Last Friday, a few of my friends and I met in beautiful, luxurious San Diego Airport Terminal 1 for a trip up to The City Of Trees. Fun geography fact: Boise is essentially straight north of San Diego! Just a 0.9587 Longitude difference! I find that interesting and I demand you do too. A two hour flight but a one hour timezone difference just to make things exotic.
If you’ve spent much time around SDSU Twitter over the past year or so, you may have seen the term “Barry” floating around. What does this mean? Who is this man? Why is he from La Mesa? Where in God’s name did he get his fashion sense?
Before we get into all that, let me take you back to one of the first pieces I ever wrote for this here content optimization funnel.
The year was 2016 (approximately 7 years after I defeated Kawhi Leonard at beer pong) and the recap of my trip to Chicago / Dekalb, Ill. for the NIU game included a note about how SDSU fans are — at at the risk of being mildly over-dramatic — some of the worst people on the face of the Earth.
Then there are the guys in this shirt that will not go two minutes without telling you how much money they donate to the Aztec Club or dishing out some veiled racism regarding Winston Shepard.
I was going to write this either way. Win or lose.
Every year in March I go to the Mountain West Conference Basketball tournament in Las Vegas. My friends and I always have a good time drinking excessively, gambling recklessly and acting obnoxiously as we cheer for San Diego State. It makes for decent #content and is a nice way for me to recap the weekend as I pound kale smoothies on the following Monday, desperately trying to apologize to my body for the hell I put it through.
But before we get to this past weekend, let’s go back a few months to the beginning of the 2017-18 basketball season. After three straight years of significant regression, I implored the SDSU basketball team to “Teach me to love again.”
When this season began in November, I could barely get myself excited enough to read a Mark Zeigler practice update (which is good because he blocked me on Twitter so I don’t know when they’re posted anyway). But here we are in March, and folks, I AM EXTREMELY BACK.