Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 at 11:11 am  |  6 responses

Is San Diego State This Year’s Butler?

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

Just a few weeks ago, San Diego State was ranked for the first time in school history. Now, as the Aztecs sit at No. 14 in the country, they could be just a few wins away from the top-10.

Already the Azetcs have knocked off Gonzaga and St. Mary’s out of conference en route to their 8-0 start. A loaded Mountain West Conference could present a tough road ahead, but as of now, San Diego State is looking like a serious threat in March.

After 13 losing seasons in 14 years the program hired Steve Fisher in 1999 and has experienced a turnaround ever since. Fisher, who had won a national title at Michigan, has led the Aztecs to three NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure, and is well on his way to a fourth.

From The San Diego Tribune:

The Aztecs already moved into the Top 10 in one important ranking, the RPI, where they are now ninth out of 345 Division I schools. The RPI, or ratings percentage index, is a computer formula that considers who you beat and where, and it generally is heavily weighed by the NCAA tournament selection committee.

The accolades didn’t stop there. Senior forward Malcolm Thomas was named Mountain West Conference player of the week, meaning an SDSU player has had the honor three of the four weeks it has been given this season. Sophomore Kawhi Leonard won it the first two weeks.

With an All-American type talent in Kawhi Leonard, who is averaging 16.2 ppg and 10.4 rpg, anchoring an experienced Aztecs lineup, San Diego State could become the latest non-traditional basketball power to be a Final Four contender.

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  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I don’t know the answer to David’s question, but I feel great that we’ve got a piece on Kawhi Leonard in our next issue!

  • shu

    Oh-oh.. Do you guys remember what happened to that Air Force Academy team you guys did a pice on in.. 2006? They dropped their last 4 and didn’t make it to the tourney. Hope the SLAM curse is a pro-only thing. lol. Wow; been reading for 7 years, subscribing for 4. Makes me feel a bit dated.

  • http://slamonline.com Jon Jaques

    Mountain West competition should hand them a few defeats, but loving San Diego State as well. Looking forward to that Kawhi story, Ben.

  • tRay

    Saw this team play Long Beach State…yeah they’re for real.

  • PlanetAsia14

    From Utah, but I love this team. Malcom’s got some sick bunnies.

  • Brian

    SDSU is a really good team this year, but you guys should do an article on the whole MWC. It feels like it is coming out of no where. Three teams in the top 25. That’s more than the ACC and Pac-10 combined. UNLV is 8-0, BYU is 8-0 and New Mexico is 6-1. Great stuff though.