Aztecs Host New Mexico Saturday in Viejas
Story ties SAN DIEGO – Coming off a three-game sweep in seven days and coming off a 64-75 win against Nevada on Tuesday night, the No. 23-ranked San Diego State men’s basketball program returns to Steve Fisher Court in Viejas Arena to host the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday night.
OUT OF THE END
San Diego State, the dominant force in the Mountain West for most of the league’s existence, enters Saturday’s game as the only remaining undefeated team in the MW playing with a 4-0 record. It’s just the seventh time in the Mountain West’s current 24-year existence that SDSU has won its first four league games, and in four of the previous six occasions, San Diego State went 5-0.
The Aztecs are battle-tested as they play the sixth-toughest schedule in the country based on their average opponent NET ranking. Only two schools in the AP Top 25 have played a tougher schedule than the Aztecs; No. 2 Kansas with the third-toughest schedule and 43 Alabama with the fifth-toughest schedule, while tonight’s opponent, New Mexico, has played the 157th-ranked schedule.
Since the start of the 2009-10 campaign, San Diego State’s 345-112 record is seventh best in the nation (see box on page 8).
Last time out, San Diego State beat Nevada, 74-65, at Viejas Arena. The win was the team’s ninth straight over the Wolf Pack regardless of location and 11th straight at Steve Fisher Court.
With the win, SDSU is 19-1 in their last 20 Mountain West home games since January 1, 2021.
SDSU is 50-1 in its last 51 games and has won 38 straight in which it has shot at least 50.0 percent from the field against Nevada on Tuesday.
San Diego State and New Mexico will meet for the 92nd time on Saturday night, with the Lobos holding a 48-43 advantage in the series. The Aztecs have won the last three games played between the teams regardless of location and are 10-2 in the last 12 meetings in Viejas.
The Aztecs have won 15 of 22 games against the Lobos on their home floor since the start of the Mountain West, which included a 25-point, 72-47 dismantling on Jan. 31, 2022, the last time the programs met.
San Diego State’s hallmark is defense, and it’s playing it at an elite level, according to Kenpom, which has the Aztecs ranked 20th nationally in adjusted defense. In addition, SDSU’s offense, which finished the 2021-22 campaign ranked 167th in scoring offense, is ranked No. 43 so far this year and SDSU is the No. 21 in the adjusted efficiency margin.
San Diego State returned to the AP poll this week at No. 23, and has now appeared in the top 25 for 94 weeks since the start of the 2010-11 season. SDSU’s 94 weeks in the top 25 are the 18th most nationally and are the most of any California school in that span (see chart on page 9).
SDSU enters tonight’s game with a 13-3 record, with its losses coming against No. 1 Arizona. 5 and Arkansas no. 9 in the 2022 Maui Jim Maui Invitational and Saint Mary’s in the Jerry Colangelo Classic. All three are Quad 1 matches played on a neutral court and all three are ranked among the top-15 in the Kenpom rankings. In addition, the Aztecs’ win over Ohio State, the no. 18 in Kenpom and receiving votes in the AP Poll, is also a Quad 1 game. These four games and the team’s win at UNLV are Quad 1 games.
San Diego State, which in 2021-22 reached the Mountain West championship game for the fifth time in coach Brian Dutcher’s five seasons, seeks its unprecedented 15th Mountain West men’s basketball title. Entering the 2022-23 season, San Diego State, the most successful program in conference history, has won eight regular season and six Mountain West tournament titles.
San Diego State owns an 89-19 (82.4 percent) record since the start of the 2019-2020 campaign. That’s the fifth-best record in the nation, behind Gonzaga (105-10), Houston (100-19), Kansas (98-19) and Baylor (92-18).
Senior Matt Bradley led the Aztecs’ offense against Nevada with a game-high 17 points and his 10 rebounds recorded his first double-double of the season and second as an Aztec. Since the start of conference play, he’s averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 50.9 percent from the field (27-of-53) and 55.6 percent from bonus-point range (15-of-26).
Junior Lamont Butler totaled 15 points against Nevada, going 5-for-9 from the field (55.6 percent). He knocked down a pair of threes and was 3-for-4 from the line. In the last two games, Butler is scoring 19.0 points per game, is 7 of 16 from beyond the arc (43.8 percent) and is dishing out 3.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds.
Keshad Johnson, a senior, shot 50.0 percent against Nevada (4 of 8) and totaled 11 points and tied his career high with three steals. His lob just 25 seconds into the game gave SDSU a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the game.
Senior Jaedon LeDee was very efficient against Nevada, finishing 4-for-5 from the field and 1-for-1 from the line with six rebounds. Over the last two games, he is averaging 8.5 points on 6-of-7 shooting (6-of-7) from the field, is 5-of-5 from the line and is pulling down 7.5 rebounds.
Brian Dutcher is now in his sixth season as San Diego State’s head coach and his 24th season on the Aztec sideline. In his five seasons as a head coach, he has led the Aztecs to four conference titles, five Mountain West championship appearances, a 132-43 overall record and was named National Coach of the Year and two-time Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year .