San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Men’s basketball seeded No. 5 in East Regional, opens Friday against UAB

The Aztecs were slotted with three conference tournament champions in the Spokane, Washington pod
Chinedu Nwoffiah
Members of the San Diego State men’s basketball team react after learning their seeding for the 2024 NCAA Tournament on Sunday, March 17 in the auditorium of the Fowler Athletics Center. The Aztecs were seeded No. 5 and will open against the 12th-seeded UAB Blazers.

Let the madness begin.

The San Diego State men’s basketball team was announced as the No. 5 seed in the East Regional for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, March 17 and will open against the 12th-seeded UAB Blazers.

The Aztecs (24-10) begin play at 10:45 a.m. on Friday, March 22, in Spokane, Washington against a UAB (23-11) team that finished fourth in the American Athletic Conference, then earned their spot by winning the tournament championship.

“I’ve known Andy Kennedy a long time — (he’s a) very good coach, it’s a very good team that’s obviously very hot right now,” said head coach Brian Dutcher. “I watched them one time this year… just was amazed with how athletic they were and well coached they were, it’s going to be a real challenge for us.”

The other matchup in the Spokane pod features SEC tournament champion Auburn as the No. 4 seed against Ivy League tournament champion Yale.

“We’ve just got to continue to play with confidence,” said senior Lamont Butler, who has been part of four NCAA tournament teams. “Jaedon (LeDee) is going to draw so much attention just because of how dominant he is, so if we’re able to hit shots from the outside and relieve pressure off (LeDee) we’re going to be able to win games like that.”

The East Region includes the No. 1 seed overall and defending National Champion UConn, with Big 12 tournament champion Iowa State seeded second and Big Ten tournament champion Illinois as the No. 3 seed.

It also features BYU — who SDSU faced on the road in early November — as well as Florida Atlantic, who were the Aztecs’ Final Four opponent last season.

SDSU earned the highest seed of a record six bids for the Mountain West Conference. Regular season champion Utah State (No. 8 seed in Midwest), tournament champion New Mexico (No. 11 seed in West), Nevada (No. 10 seed in West), Colorado State and Boise State (both No. 10 seeds in the play-in round) all earned spots.

The 2024 tournament is the fifth time the Aztecs will be dancing with Dutcher as head coach and the 16th time in program history.

“It never gets old, it’s the greatest feeling in the world to have these guys go, you can never take it for granted when you hear your name called, it’s a tremendous privilege,” Dutcher said.

“There are 360-some Division I teams and only 68 hear their name called and we’re one of them. The beauty of our program is we’ve consistently been one of them, so we take great pleasure in that.”

About the Contributors
Eric Evelhoch
Eric Evelhoch, '23-24 Sports Editor
Eric Evelhoch (he/him/his) is a senior media studies major who was born outside of Detroit, Michigan, and lived in Ventura County, California, for a decade-plus. He is a returning college student and transfer from Santa Barbara City College, where he served as Sports Editor for The Channels. Evelhoch is also a Sports Director for KCR College Radio, where he restarted play-by-play coverage post-pandemic. Currently, he serves as the play-by-play broadcaster for the SDSU ACHA DI hockey team and has filled in on the call for Aztecs sports on the Mountain West Network. His prior freelance experience includes print, digital, online video and audio-only, and broadcast radio formats covering football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and volleyball.
Chinedu Nwoffiah, Photographer
Chinedu Nwoffiah (he/him/his) is a fourth-year Communication major specializing in Digital & Social Media Studies. He has always had a passion for sports and storytelling and has been able to enhance his skills throughout his time at The Daily Aztec. Since joining in 2023, he has covered nearly every sport through photography and contributed as a writer, broadcaster, and multimedia specialist for men’s basketball.