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

Around the Mesa: SDSU fan culture on men’s basketball first-round NCAA tournament win

Fans cheer and celebrate at Novo Brazil Brewing Co. during the Aztecs first-round win
Abigail Segoviano
Fans of all ages gather around and put their fingers up in hopes of a made free throw at Novo Brazil Brewing Co. at Mission Valley.

On Friday, March 22, Aztec fans were welcomed to watch the first round of March Madness at Novo Brazil Brewing Co. at Mission Valley. Novo is in partnership with the MESA Foundation, the official NIL partner of San Diego State University.

The San Diego community came to support the men’s basketball team, which played the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

For Aztec fan Bethany Gonzales, it was an enthusiastic day to be surrounded by the SDSU community.

“It’s always fun to watch sports with a large group,” Gonzales said. “When people are excited it’s super fun, the whole place is full of Aztec fans. 

By the end of the first half the Aztecs were up 35-29 against the Blazers. Starting the second half the Blazers started to catch up against them. 

Inside of Novo, the crowd was starting to get nervous but alumnus Kellen Hernandez never lost faith in the Aztecs. 

“No doubt we were going to win but (UAB) made their run and basketball is a lot of back and forth,” Hernandez said. “We knew we had the best player, all-American Jaedon LeDee, and that he was going to come through at the end.”

Hernandez shared why he decided to watch the game at Novo. 

“With the NCAA tournament, being able to be at one of the watch parties was important… At the same time, Novo Brazil Brewing is a big sponsor of San Diego State athletics,” Hernandez said. 

Hernandez was able to enjoy the watch party with his uncle, alumnus Ted Hernandez who shared his thoughts about the environment in the establishment.

“I usually watch the games at home and watch them by myself,” Hernandez said. “It was a really fun experience to come here and watch the game with the crowd, everyone was pumped.”

General Manager Leonardo Bauer talked about the atmosphere inside the restaurant.

“We love the energy from the Aztecs as the same as other teams from San Diego,” Bauer said. “The local energy, it’s so great here in San Diego compared to other cities I have lived.”

Needless to say, the men’s basketball team has set a great cultural foundation in the city of San Diego. 

Students paused their workouts to watch the Aztecs win their opening game of March Madness

The Aztec Recreation Centre, more commonly known as the “ARC,”  is a huge building at San Diego State University.  

Inside, pop music pumps through speakers as students lift weights, run around the track and climb the climbing wall. But on Friday, March 22, the music stopped. 

Instead, the voices of sports commentators Lisa Byington, Steve Smith, Robbie Hummeland Lauren Shehadi filled the ARC. Projecting over the top of the clang of weights and the grunts of exertion, they announced the Aztecs men’s basketball 69-65 win against the University of Alabama, Birmingham in the first round of March Madness. 

Television screens that play 24-hour news, reality TVand sports talk shows were instead filled with the stars of SDSU basketball. 

Jadeon LeDee and Darrion Trammell plied their trade on the court as students watched.  

In between sets, students spun around from their machines, found a television screen and watched. From running machines, placed conveniently in front of screens, they watched. And as they walked in and out of the building, they stopped by reception and watched. 

Music at the ARC is usually a background distraction, blocked out by headphones and ignored. But on Friday it was different.

As the final seconds expired, students formed little groups by screens to watch. The game clock hit all zeros, a smattering of applause rang out and then music returned to the ARC.  

Headphones went back on, exercises were resumed and students carried on with their days, once again oblivious to the music playing over the speakers.


About the Contributor
Abigail Segoviano
Abigail Segoviano, '24-25 Mundo Azteca Editor
Originally from Richmond, California, Abigail Segoviano is a second-year student, majoring in Journalism with a minor in Spanish. This is Abigail’s second year at the Daily Aztec where she got the opportunity to expand her writing skills as a journalist. As a staff writer last year she had the opportunity to mainly cover the entire season of women’s volleyball and also covered a couple of games for women’s basketball. This year her main focus is to branch out and write for different sports. Additionally to get involved in other sections such as Multimedia and Mundo Azteca. Abigail is the Vice President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (SDSU Chapter). Abigail received an award from The Daily Aztec: “Consistent Contributor.” In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching sports, listening to music, and going on adventures with friends.