SAN DIEGO - Like every college basketball team, San Diego State has a few flaws. Perhaps their lack of consistent shooting or dependence on Xavier Thames to create offense will ultimately be the Aztecs' undoing in the NCAA Tournament.
The Aztecs, though, are also capable of greatness. Enough greatness, dare I say, to reach the Final Four out of the West Region.
Let's take a look at how a possible path to North Texas could play out:
1st Round: The favored Aztecs use their pressure defense to force turnover-prone New Mexico State into multiple mistakes. SDSU converts those mistakes into easy baskets, and the Aztecs win easily on Thursday, even allowing Steve Fisher to rest his starters in the final few minutes.
2nd Round: The Aztecs draw Oklahoma in the tournament for a second straight year, and Steve Fisher still has Lon Kruger's number. Fisher's team has beaten the former UNLV coach in 8 of their last 9 meetings, including a convincing win over the Sooners last year in Philadelphia.
Regional Semifinal: I can see either Arizona or Oklahoma State being the opponent, here. If the Cowboys knock off the Wildcats, SDSU isn't going to be a popular team in Big 12 country. The Aztecs will use their defensive schemes to limit Ok St. star Marcus Smart, and push their way into a regional final. If it's Arizona, the Aztecs will get a chance to show what they've learned since the start of the season, when they lost to the Wildcats at Viejas Arena in a game that was close until the very end. This time, though, Arizona won't have the injured Brandon Ashley, and assistant coach Justin Hutson will have plenty of tape from the PAC-12 season to see exactly how teams like Cal, Arizona State, and UCLA took down the Wildcats.
Regional Final: This game could be against a variety of opponents, but none would be heavy favorites against the Aztecs. 2-seed Wisconsin and 6-seed Baylor are both beatable, and San Diego State already has a neutral court win over 3-seed Creighton. Playing in Anaheim, the Aztecs would have a huge home court advantage over any of these teams, giving The Show a chance to lift the Red and Black into the Final Four.
It looks pretty fun all written out. Just watch out for New Mexico State on Thursday, because, as we all know, the Aztecs have some flaws.