OK, we’ll get to the Zeigs vs. The Show stuff in a minute, I promise. You came here (presumably) to read about basketball.
And the basketball game in question was actually really good!
The Aztecs played with outstanding cohesion and intensity as they manhandled UNLV 77-64 on Sunday at Viejas Arena. The Rebels, rebuilding under old friend Marvin Menzies, are pretty bad these days, but we can be thrilled with the streak implications of this victory:
You guessed it, comrades: student-athletes from San Diego State University played another intercollegiate basketball game, this one a 66-62 road win over Utah State. It bore little or no relation to national security, treason, компромат or any number of other potential looming crises. After all, there’s 351 Division I men’s basketball programs in this country and SDSU is but one of them! Really puts things in perspective when you step back and look at the big picture.
It’s a tired and well-worn cliché to say that one game is a microcosm. But. This game showcased inherent traits of the 2016-17 Aztecs in a nutshell: an athletic, highly talented team that can play lockdown defense and run anyone in their conference out of the building, and also an underachieving team that easily loses its way and can blow a lead of any size. And do it all with key contributors out with injuries.
It’s Valentine’s Day, meaning it’s time to celebrate the utterly irrational act of love! Well, if you’re like me, there is nothing you love more irrationally than the San Diego State Aztecs. To celebrate this holiday, I’ve gone ahead and ripped off Brandon Bird’s best idea created some SDSU-themed candy hearts for you to enjoy and share with your friends and loved ones.
The Viejas Arena lights were still dimmed for pregame festivities, and I was certain SDSU was about to get run out of the damn building. It wasn’t just that Nevada is arguably the conference’s best team (although it is) or the fact that the Aztecs were coming off an embarrassing, listless loss at San Jose State (although they were).
It was also the body language of the players.
As Slash’s opening riff on “Welcome to the Jungle” sounded and the video board cut to the scene in the tunnel outside the Aztecs locker room, the usual bouncy exuberance was missing. Rather than getting amped to someone’s fiery oration, the players looked like weary commuters at a bus stop. During the introduction of starters, there was no joyful dancing – a fact noted by my wife who greatly enjoys such things (she thinks Dakarai Allen has by far the best moves, for the record).
I’m glad to say now, in the wake of SDSU’s 70-56 dismantling of the Wolf Pack, that I had misread the situation. Apparently they weren’t feeling too listless to dance. Maybe they were actually just too pissed.
Remember Brigham Young University? No? Me, either.
According to Wikipedia, Brigham Young (or BYU as it is known for short) is a for-profit university jointly owned by the Church of Scientology and the Kremlin that currently plays intercollegiate sports in the Big Sky. Anyway, *apparently* this team was a conference rival of ours in the Mountain West until 2011, when it was defeated and mocked so thoroughly by Kawhi Leonard that it withdrew from the league out of cowardice and spite and cowardice.
This doesn’t sound familiar at all tbh, but apparently there is footage of the event in question.
Well, that certainly does look humiliating!
Why does any of this matter now? Because apparently our two schools are about to become reacquainted in the sport of football!
I imagine San José as something like an Escher drawing of the continuous stairs, only with cookie-cutter business parks, strip malls and endless tract homes. A bubble-inflated hamster wheel of blandness and rewarded mediocrity. It’s the Bay Area, but the real boring part. Look at this bullshit:
A gerrymandered archipelago of carved-out mesas and subdivisions. What are all those little enclaves? Is that where Silicon Valley isolates its service workers, red-lined in unincorporated Santa Clara county?
That’s where the Aztecs went and lost tonight, 76-71 to the Spartans. They played bad. This season is bad. Multiple unrelated exterior events are bad.
Aztecs hoops Twitter has been a pretty dark place of late, and it’s understandable. That’s kind of what you get when your team is under .500 in a bad mid-major conference, having pissed away several big leads and winning exactly zero games decided by six points or less.
So when SDSU started frittering away another double-digit second-half lead Saturday afternoon at Fresno State, our inevitable and entertaining social media nervous breakdown commenced.
Aztecs win! Aztecs win!! They beat the Wyoming Cowboys, 77-68. Thank Vishnu, Buddha and baby Jesus for that. Old alma mater’s humbling crash to mediocrity has been demoralizing, as evidenced by students and fans voting with their feet by not showing up to this one (’twas an 8:10 PM tip, not ideal for a Tuesday). After 80 consecutive home sellouts it’s now been two straight not-sellouts. The stands were half-empty, folks.