San Diego State’s March Madness Bid Hopes

On March 6th, the San Diego State men’s basketball team faces off against Fresno State University, hoping to gain a bid into March Madness.

This is the 30th game of the season for SDSU and will feature a senior night farewell to stars such as Jeremy Hemsley, Devin Watson, and Michael Sohikish. The Aztecs have won 9 out of their last 11 games and will battle Fresno for the 3 seed at the Mountain West Championship hosted in Las Vegas. With a win against Fresno, the Aztecs would go undefeated at home in conference play for the second time in 20 years. Although the Aztecs will receive an automatic bid at the conference tournament, the question remains whether they will make the March Madness bid?

SDSU has appeared in 14 NCAA tournaments in school history and they have a chance to make the 68 team bracket in a couple weeks. However, Utah State or the University of Nevada will probably receive the automatic bid to March Madness. Though SDSU is the reigning conference champion, Utah and Nevada have both won at least 6 more games than SDSU in the 2018-19 season.

32 teams receive an automatic bid to March Madness based on their conference championship, 36 receive an at-large bid, and 4 play for the 16th seed in Ohio during the First Four tournament.

It is going to be awfully close in terms of whether or not SDSU will make the bracket. I project them to be “on the bubble” and finish the season with a 20-11 record, beating Fresno at home and losing to #17 Nevada on the road. That kind of a record will float them just around a .650% winning percentage for the season, which is NCAA March Madness material.

First, they have to beat Fresno at home and give Nevada a run for their money. Look for 2-time MW player of the week Jalen McDaniels to help aid them in that journey as he is averaging 16.4 points per game this season. Strength of schedule will play a factor in the NCAA’s evaluation tool for determining the 38 teams. I believe that beating Nevada in a stunning fashion on February 20th at Viejas Arena, and playing them on the road to end the season will boost SDSU’s chances of making the tournament.

Come March 17th, hopefully San Diego State’s name will be called.

Written by: Jacob McCulloh

SDSU men’s hoops looking to make a statement against CSU

Aztecs guard Jeremy Hemsley (42) attempts a basket. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) per GoAztecs.com

The San Diego State men’s basketball team has had a tough time living up to the expectations given to them before this season started.

The Aztecs were the favorites to win the Mountain West conference. Outside of a two nationally recognized games (Gonzaga and Arizona State), the schedule was destined for a magical Steve Fisher season like we’ve seen several times in his time at SDSU. However, we are about halfway through the season, and the Aztecs are barely .500, opening the door for a lot of criticism from their hometown fans.

After falling to 10th in the MW conference a couple weeks ago, SDSU quickly rebounded with three consecutive wins in the conference, giving supporters of the Scarlet and Black some hope. The Aztecs, however, suffered another frustrating loss to Air Force, which further pushed SDSU’s title dreams out of the picture.

With 11 games still pinned on the schedule, all hope is not lost for the Aztecs.

Fisher is more than capable of leading SDSU on a prosperous run to close out the season, a run that will start with earning a win in Viejas Arena against Colorado State University on Saturday.

“All we have to do is look at the stats right now, Fisher said. “One game separates those of us with three losses from first place, and one game separates those with three losses from eighth place. So every game is crucial to have a chance to win this league.”

The Aztecs (12-8) will look to climb out of sixth place in the MW with a win over fifth-place CSU (12-8).

Led by redshirt senior guard Gian Clavell (16.3 PPG) and senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo (13.3 PPG), the Rams’ offense has flashed their horns in recent weeks.

SDSU will lean on their backcourt in sophomore guard Jeremy Hemsley (14.9 PPG) and junior guard Try Kell (13.3 PPG) to rally the Aztecs’ struggling offense to new heights.

Additionally, look for SDSU to rely on senior forward Matt Shrigley to spark their offense with some key three-pointers in transition.

The Aztecs’ defense, on the other hand, has maintained its strength this season despite the team’s poor record. SDSU’s defense has held opponents to less than 61 points per game in each of their last four games.

With that, the Aztecs’ defense must again carry the load against CSU’s highly talented offense in order to keep the pressure off the team’s inconsistent offensive attack.

Follow @KCRSports to see live tweets from Saturday’s game starting at 3:00 p.m. (PST).