SHANNON’S SHOUTOUT: Aztecs hoping for ‘Madness’

by Staff

It’s pretty obvious at this point that the San Diego State men’s basketball team won’t be dancing in March if they don’t win the Mountain West Conference Championships.With a 19-11 record, just nine conference wins and no big wins in nonconference play, the team is a long shot.So when SDSU takes the floor today at the MWC Championships, the team knows it’s all-or-nothing. With that in mind, the Aztecs have to like their draw.First, they have to get by Air Force at 2:30 p.m. Sure, SDSU just lost to the Falcons 46-43 on Saturday afternoon and was held to under 50 points in both matchups this year.But the Aztecs lost Saturday’s game more than Air Force won it. SDSU was sloppy and shot a horrendous 34 percent from the field and couldn’t get anything going.As long as the Aztecs play their game and don’t let the Falcons’ defense get to them too much, they should come out victorious.If that happens, they would almost certainly face BYU in the semifinals. The Cougars are probably the best team in the league, but they don’t need the victory like other teams do. They’ve already essentially punched their ticket to March Madness.But there’s more than that. BYU doesn’t match up particularly well against SDSU. Its guards are good – Sam Burgess can shoot the lights out and Lee Cummard was the Co-MWC Player of the Year.The Cougars do not have the forwards to take care of the Aztecs, however. Junior forward Lorrenzo Wade is clearly SDSU’s best scoring option, and freshman forward Billy White is an explosive player that you always have to watch.Without solid forwards playing on defense, BYU is in trouble. There’s a reason why Wade scored a career-high 28 and White added 15 the last time the teams met – an Aztec victory.If SDSU can find a way to beat them again, they’ll be in the finals, probably against UNLV or New Mexico. Considering the tournament is on the Rebels’ home floor – a place they rarely lose – they will probably find a way to beat the Lobos in the semifinals.But it’s possible they might falter along the way, either in that game or in the quarterfinals against TCU. It isn’t likely, but possible.UNLV is the last team the Aztecs want to face in the tournament. The Rebels are the only team to sweep SDSU this season, and in the last meeting, just two weeks ago, the Aztecs were outmatched.But there is no chance SDSU will face UNLV until the finals. If the Rebels get upset along the way, the Aztecs have a good shot in the finals.By no means am I saying that SDSU will or should win the MWC Championships. But one thing is very clear – it has to be pleased with the bracket.

– Eric Shannon is a journalism senior.- This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.

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