March Madness: Aztecs, Wildcats face off in Sweet 16

ANAHEIM - San Diego State's men's basketball team will face Arizona Thursday night in the Aztecs' first Sweet 16 appearance since 2011.

The 7:17 p.m. game, which will be played in Anaheim, is rematch of a Nov. 14 game won by Arizona, 69-60.

"They were good, real good," Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher said. "We pride ourselves in saying we're a good rebounding team. They beat us up on the boards. They are tremendously athletic."

One difference between San Diego State in that game and Thursday night's is that forward Dwayne Polee II, the Mountain West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year who Fisher describes as "probably our best athlete," did not play because of decisions by Fisher.

The Aztecs won their next 20 games, tying the school record.

To Wildcats coach Sean Miller, San Diego State (31-4) is "an outstanding offensive rebounding team," "a physical team" with "a great toughness about them."

"They're an elite defensive team, but one of the statistics defensively that's different between the two teams... is they steal the ball," said Miller, whose team is 32-4 and the No. 1 seed in the West Region. "They get big turnovers the way they play defense which gives them additional offense."

The Aztecs, who are seeded fourth in the West Region, have never won a Sweet 16 game. They lost to eventual national champion Connecticut, 74-67, in 2011, also at Honda Center, in their only previous appearance.

The game matches two of the nation's top five teams in scoring defense. San Diego State is second in the nation, allowing 56.6 points and Arizona fifth, allowing 58.2 points.

The winner will face the winner of the opening game of Thursday's doubleheader at Honda Center, Baylor-Wisconsin, Saturday at Honda Center with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

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