All eyes are on the bright lights of Las Vegas as the San Diego State’s basketball team attempts to win its fifth conference tournament championship and first since 2011. One piece of good news for the Aztecs is that New Mexico, who won the tournament each of the past three years, was eliminated Wednesday night by Air Force. 68-61.
SDSU enters Thursday as the No. 2 seed and will face an UNLV team who handled Nevada on Tuesday on its home floor.
In their two games this season, SDSU emerged triumphant by a two-point average margin of victory.
The Rebels come in playing with increased confidence, especially from star forward Christian Wood. Wood is had a 28-point performance in the win over Nevada, making 9 of 13 shots.
A solid game from Wood usually leads to a UNLV victory. The Aztecs kept Wood under wraps in their two meetings, holding the sophomore to only 12 total points. If SDSU is able to limit Wood to a minimal performance once again, it will be in good shape to advance to Friday’s semifinal.
If the Aztecs are able to knock off the Rebels for a third straight game, they could possibly face a dangerous Colorado State team in the semi, and then a likely rematch with Boise State in the finals.
The road through those three top teams would benefit the Aztecs when the NCAA selection committee determines where SDSU should be seeded in the upcoming tournament.
UNLV, Colorado State, and Boise State are top 100 RPI teams. SDSU holds an 8-5 record against such teams, leaving it projected by most experts as No. 7 seed.
A MW championship and three more quality wins could be enough to bump the Aztecs up to a No. 6 seed, helping them avoid the top two seeds in the first weekend.
As SDSU is a virtual lock to have a spot in the NCAA tournament, Boise State and Colorado State still have work to do if they want to relax on Selection Sunday.
Although both teams will likely be selected, a well=played game against SDSU will be crucial for their chances, making for intense contests.
’Tis the season for upsets and close games so there’ll be several must-watch battles at Thomas & Mack Arena this weekend.
March is officially in full swing so let’s start the madness.
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