Thursday, March 17, 2011

San Diego State

Drop by within a week for a season preview on the Padres and most, if not all, of the other clubs. Until then, this blog belongs to San Diego State's men's basketball team. Tony Gwynn's alma mater, seeded second in the NCAA West Region, faces Northern Colorado this afternoon (1:40 p.m.) in Tucson.

A trip to the Sweet Sixteen seems likely for Steve Fisher's team, although if there's any city that shouldn't assume victory in a postseason, San Diego is that city. The Padres last won a postseason series in 1998 and have never won a playoff game at Petco Park. We last saw the Chargers in a Super Bowl 16 years ago (showing the world why it's not wise to solo a safety on Jerry Rice). For the five AFC West titles they've won in the last seven years, the Bolts haven't an AFC title to show for it.

The Aztecs aren't known for cozying to the moment, either. They're 0-6 as a Division I program in the NCAA Tournament and their football victory over Navy three months ago was their first bowl triumph since 1969.

OK, you already knew that San Diego isn't Titletown USA.

If SDSU's ever to make a splash in March, this sure looks like the time to get wet. The Aztecs won 32 games, tied with Ohio State and Kansas for most in the country. Game after game after game, the Aztecs defended and rebounded like their scholarship checks depended on it, two constants that should put them in Anaheim next week. A trip beyond the Sweet Sixteen likely hinges on the team's shooting, which comes and goes.

When I attended San Diego State, more students congregated at the campus bar than at many of the basketball games, so it was momentous for me to see SDSU soar up the rankings, although several months ago, the Aztecs looked like the region's best to West Coast Bias. As a bonus, the players are easy to like, and clearly having a blast.

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