Ben's Blog: San Diego State earns national respect

SAN DIEGO - Respect is not easily won in college basketball if you're not a blue-blood program. San Diego State is starting to earn a little of that respect, and rightfully so. The Aztecs dropped only one spot in the AP poll this week after their loss at Wyoming (although losses by several other Top 12 teams didn't hurt, either).

Still, I'm getting the sense that while the Aztecs are gaining national respect, they're still not considered one of this year's true national championship contenders. I'm not sure why not.

Sure, the Aztecs have some flaws, most of them on offense. A lot of people see SDSU struggle to score for long stretches and immediately assume it will be their undoing in March. But if you pay attention to college basketball, you'll notice that there are no perfect teams this season. Every squad is flawed; every school will be vulnerable in the NCAA tournament.

To win in March, you're going to need to beat some good teams. The Aztecs long ago proved they could do that with a neutral floor win over Creighton (currently 11th in the country) and a road win over Kansas (currently 8th). No team ahead of the Aztecs in the rankings can say they've fared any better against top competition. Take a look at the best wins for the Top 5:

-- Syracuse (No. 5 Duke, No. 9 Villanova)
-- Florida (No. 8 Kansas, No. 18 Kentucky)
-- Wichita St. (No. 10 St. Louis)
-- Arizona (No. 5 Duke, No. 6 SDSU, No. 20 Michigan)
-- Duke (No. 20 Michigan)

To win a national championship, you're going to have to beat some good teams. The Aztecs have proven they can do that as well as anyone in the country. To me, that makes San Diego State a very legitimate national title contender.

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