SDSU basketball adds powerhouse Michigan to 2021 schedule

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Derrick Tuskan

Trey Pulliam (4) goes up against two Boise State players on February 25

by Austin Tarke, Contributor

San Diego State basketball added a big contender to its schedule with the addition of an East Coast trip to Ann Arbor against the potentially top-ranked Michigan Wolverines on December 4. The matchup provides the Aztecs with an excellent opportunity to boost their tournament resume when the season concludes.

Michigan comes into the season after claiming the number one seed in the NCAA tournament East Regional bracket and climbing to the Elite Eight before falling to UCLA. The Wolverines will return three essential starters, including former freshman All-American Hunter Dickinson and are projected as the eighth-best team in the country.

The Aztecs come into the season following a Round of 64 exit and are deficient of last year’s star talent with both Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel departing. However, seniors Trey Pulliam, Adam Seiko and Nathan Mensah return along with the young talents of junior Keshad Johnson and sophomore Lamont Butler. Aztecs went out and added four significant transfers, headlined by the senior star player Matt Bradley.

         The personal significance of SDSU playing Michigan

This matchup has historical significance between the two coaches. Aztec coach Brian Dutcher was the former assistant coach at Michigan and will return for the first time since his final season in 1998. Additionally, Dutcher used to coach the present-day Michigan coach, Juwan Howard. The two of them were a part of the notorious “Fab Five,” which will be in college basketball lore forever.

Over the years, the Aztecs have been reluctant to add opponents to the schedule that feature long-distance travel. This matchup will be the first in Aztec program history against Michigan. In fact, this will be SDSU’s first matchup against a Big Ten School in 25 years — an 82-70 win against Northwestern in 1996. This Michigan scheduling displays Dutcher’s willingness to bolster the Aztecs’ NCAA tournament resume by any means necessary.

In addition to the Michigan game and conference foes, the Aztecs’ other prominent matchups include a road game against BYU, a home game against Arizona State and a neutral site tournament over Thanksgiving which include Georgetown and potentially USC. The season tips off on Nov. 9.

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