Is San Diego State This Year’s Butler?

by December 07, 2010

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.