Super Bowl Media Week – The Marshawn Lynch Reaction

The Media.

All they want is a story, and they will do anything to get it.

Much has been made about how Marshawn Lynch has handled himself during this Super Bowl media frenzy. On Tuesday, Lynch came to the stand to speak to the media for his required hour-long stint. He only spoke (if you can call it that) for about 7 minutes before he stepped down. On Wednesday, he did pretty much the same thing. Both days, Lynch repeatedly mentioned the only reason he was there was so he would not get fined.

The only reporter to get a real one-on-one with Lynch was the Hall of Fame Cornerback Deion Sanders. You could tell by the way Mr. Primetime approached Lynch that he knew he may not get a lot out of the Pro Bowl Running Back. For all the energy and character Deion Sander has, he handled the interview very well. He spoke slow and softly and got to the point. He complimented Beast Mode and spoke to a level Lynch could handle.

It seemed like Lynch only gave the time of day to the HOF’er because of his rich history in the league and his respect by many people associated with the NFL.

Driving home from work on Tuesday I was listening to San Diego Sports radio station. One of the broadcasters reaction was one to think about. He was relating Marshawn’s attitude to that of Ricky Williams back in the day. Ricky Williams had an anxiety problem with the media. Part of this may have been attributed to his recluse way’s of smoking marijuana and wanting to keep to himself. But other’s argued it was a true mental condition. Regardless of any of this, Williams was an outstanding back who brought it on game day whether or not he spoke to the media.

There are other athletes that have anxiety problems with the media like this. One that I can think of off the top of my head is Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Zack Greinke. Apparently, the pitcher has an anxiety problem where he rarely speaks with the media. This can be understandable, some people just do not react to the cameras and media’s as others do. Those here in San Diego might remember Padres’ Short Stop Kahlil Green who was the same way. He had a great deal of talent, but just could not handle the media. Even in a small market like San Diego, Green could just not take in the media. He was a talented player who let a lot of his potential go to waste in the eyes of many fans. Green was the type of guy that just wanted to go out their and play baseball as if he was still in Little League, not answer questions to reporters.

But is this Marshawn Lynch’s condition? At the time I was listening to this broadcaster on the radio I had not actually seen or heard any of Lynch’s interviews from Media Day. To me, Lynch’s approach is similar to that of Kahlil Green’s. Not necessarily the anxiety, but just the eagerness to be on the field. Green did have some kind of anxiety problem, but he really just wanted to go out there and play ball. That is what it seems like to me for Lynch.

Like I said before, it seemed as if Deion Sanders handled his interview very well with Lynch. He was straight to the point and did not allow for any filler. He seemed to make Marshawn feel comfortable which allowed him to open up a little more. Sander’s even asked Lynch if he was ‘shy’. Maybe Lynch is a little anxious when it comes to the media, but it seems to me that he is really just a football guy. He just wants to keep focused on the game in front of him and make it happen on game day. He is very unselfish, and gives credit to all of his teammates.

On Wednesday, Day 2 of the Media Day, Lynch approached the media the same way. He spoke for about 6 or 7 minutes with really nothing to say. Lynch’s blocking fullback Michael Robinson had to cut in and answer questions for Lynch. He did it with humor, but also in a way to rescue Lynch.

This can be peculiar to some. Some players, i.e. Richard Sherman, suck up Media Day. It is a way to endorse your product and make a character and name for yourself among the media, country, and fans a like. You make people fall in love with your character and that creates more hype and buzz around your name. Furthermore, this allows for more sponsors and money to be made. But, is that what this game is about?

The only person that is really hurting this week is Lynch’s agent. Marshawn Lynch may have acted ‘immature’ by the way he handled the media, but he is an old school guy. He is here to play the game and win it. He is not here to talk nonsense with a bunch of reporters when he only has one thing on his mind — winning the Super Bowl. Some reporters mentioned to him “don’t you owe it to your fans to talk?” Sure, maybe he does. But from what I have heard, fans do not care. It is part of the character of Marshawn Lynch, of “Beast Mode.” It is a whole mindset and lifestyle. He is a no-nonsense kind of guy and wants to focus his energy on the game.

Some have said that he was not like this when he was in Buffalo. This is a good argument for why it is not so much an anxiety thing. Honestly, before this season I do not think any one even cared or thought about his presence in the media. It seems as if this year, Lynch made a conscious decision to step away from the media and focus on his career. Lets take a look a little further into that concept.

In 2013, he had his 2nd most attempts and rushing yards. Also, in previous years he had a lot of injury problems, especially with the Bills. This was only the 2nd time in his entire career he started all 16 games (19 including playoffs/SB), which is a career high. He also tied for his most rushing touchdowns of his career (12, also had 12 in 2011). Furthermore, he had the 2nd most receptions of his career, most receiving yards of his career, and most receiving touchdowns of his career.

To me, the guy is trying to focus on his career, and it looks like he has been successful. If I was a Seahawks fan, I probably would not care that much about his media day. So what? — he does not want to talk to the media. He wants to play. He wants to focus on the game and help put his team in position to win Super Bowl XLVIII.

In the end, anxiety or not, the media is blowing this up. Reporters are making a huge deal about Marshawn Lynch not talking to the media. Why does it even matter? Why is this such a big deal? Last time I remembered, the Media does not play on Sundays. More power to Marshawn Lynch and keep that Beast Mode coming.

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Super Bowl XLVIII Analysis and Synopsis – Who Has the Edge?

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This Super Bowl may be one of the most evenly matched, and highly anticipated in the past couple of years.

It will truly be the best offense in the NFL (perhaps ever) in the Denver Broncos going on to face the best defense in the NFL in the Seattle Seahawks. There has not been a Super Bowl in quite a while where I could not firmly pick a team or even sway to their side. These teams are both definitely the best two teams in the NFL, and I do not think I could have said that for a long time in a Super Bowl Matchup.

Super Bowl XLVIII is actually the first time the #1 Scoring Offense will face the #1 Scoring Defense.

Here is my breakdown in which I will give the edge to either team based off of different aspects of the game.

Quarterback:

Statistically, Peyton Manning has had the best season for any NFL Quarterback. Some of these stats could be attributed to the fact that the NFL is getting much ‘softer’ and Quarterbacks get away with a lot more as far as protection and penalties.

Still, Manning is a legend. Whether the Broncos win or lose this game, everyone still knows how great Manning is as a quarterback and it is hard to go against him.

Russell Wilson is a great young Quarterback as well. It is very impressive to remember that Wilson is only in his 2nd year in the NFL. In Russell’s first season, he led the Seattle Seahawks to an 11-5 regular season record and went 1-1 for the playoffs. This season the Russell has led the Seahawks to a 13-3 record and are currently 2-0 in the playoffs. His total record in his first 2 years of his career, including playoffs, is 27-9. This record is second best to only Ben Roethlisberger and will be tied if the Seahawks go on to win the Super Bowl.

Like Big Ben, Russell Wilson is in a Super Bowl in only his sophomore season. Also like Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson has an outstanding team around him. Furthermore, both of these teams (2005 Steelers, 2013 Seahawks) had top-5 Defenses.

Update:  Just to extend on this Steelers 2005 Defense comparison. I am not comparing the two defenses in anyway saying one is better than the other. Actually, The 2013 is definitely better than the 2005 Steelers defense. The point I am trying to make is that the success of Ben Roethlisberger in 2005 was aided primarily to his stellar defense. The Steelers had the #4 defense in the league in 2005, and a lot of those players were in their prime. Ben Roethlisberger is a great QB, don’t get me wrong, but it is hard to believe he would be a 2005 Super Bowl winner if it was not for the defense he had. Just like Russell Wilson this year. He is a great QB and has a very bright future ahead of him, but the Seattle Seahawks would not be in the Super Bowl without their stellar defense. The point of this article is to give an edge to one team, and this is my argument for why I give the Broncos the edge. In short, the Seahawks would not be in the Super Bowl (most likely) if it was not for their Defense, whereas the Broncos for sure would not be in the Super Bowl if it was not for Peyton Manning (therefore, I give the edge to the Broncos).

I still feel Russell Wilson is growing into himself. He really does not have all the playmakers around him on offense for his production to be over the top and Peyton is having a phenomenal season.

EDGE: Broncos

Running Backs:

Knowshon Moreno has had a pretty good season, rushing for over 1,000 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns. He is a solid running back, but not a feature back. Moreno really only gets his chunks of yards and touchdowns based on the game plan the Broncos have. He also shares time with Monte Ball.

Marshawn Lynch,  a.k.a. “Beast Mode,” is an elite runner in NFL. His aggressive play is admired and appreciated by team mates. He is a top 5 rusher in the league and also managed double digit touchdowns for the third straight year. Although he dealt with injuries early in his career, he has finally reached his potential with the Seahawks. Lynch will be play a huge factor in Super Bowl XLVIII.

EDGE: Seattle

Wide Receiver:

The Broncos feature some of the best Wide Receivers in the entire National Football League. All three of their starting receivers have double digit TDs in Decker, Welker, and Demaryius Thomas.

We all know about Welker. He is arguably the best possession receiver in the entire league. He is unstoppable at times and is a nightmare matchup problem out of the slot. Welker is a guy that is going to get a lot of receptions, a lot of first down looks, and a lot of easy touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas is a prototypical #1 wide receiver. He is a massive guy who plays extremely physical. He put up over 1,400 yards this season and scored 14 TDs. Eric Decker is a guy that just seems to always get open, especially with the holes in coverage left by Demaryius, Julius, and Welker. Denver also has speedy receiver Andre Caldwell who has made some plays down the stretch of the season.

The Seahawks have a handful of play makers at the Wide Receiver position, but really just do not have a premiere guy. Golden Tate has proven himself as reliable, but is really nothing more than a 2 receiver. Doug Baldwin has taken over the slot role, with Percy Harvin out a majority of the year, and has been impressive. His regular season stat line is 50 receptions for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is a big play guy, but still is not going to produce game in and game out. Looking at his game log from 2013, there are plenty of games where he went quiet. He had SEVEN games where he had 2 or less receptions (5 games with only 1 reception, 1 game with 0, and 1 game with 2).  Baldwin also never, not one time, had a 100-yard receiving game. I can see him making plays in this Super Bowl, just because he has seemed to be clutch at times, but still he is not a receiver who will take over a game.

After speaking with many Seahawks fans, I must add Jermaine Kearse here. He seems to have made some clutch plays throughout the season but still only finished the year with 22 receptions for 346 yards and 4 TDs. I might add that he never had more than 3 receptions in any game this season and had 8 games where he had 1 or 0 receptions. His season high in yards was only 75.

Sidney Rice is an outstanding receiver but has been injured the majority of the season and was placed on IR earlier this season. The X-factor here in the receiver position is Percy Harvin. He is an outstanding receiver coming out of the slot and can stretch the field. He makes the yards after catch plays and is truly a dynamic receiver. Again though, he is not really a true #1 guy. Furthermore, he may not even be entire healthy.

Obviously, a lot of this receiver productivity is built into an offensive philosophy. The Seahawks are a run-heavy offense, whereas the Broncos are a pass-heavy offense. Still, you cannot deny the numbers and the production that the Broncos receiving corp have put up in 2013.

EDGE: Broncos

Tightends:

This one is easy for me. The Seahawks have a solid Tight End in Zach Miller, but definitely not a dynamic one. He has put up decent numbers over his career with one Pro-Bowl season (2010 Antonio Gates did not go because of injury). He is reliable at times, but really only good for a couple plays a game in this offense.

The Broncos on the other hand have Pro-Bowler Julius Thomas who is outstanding. He had 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He has more receptions, yards, and touchdowns than the Seahawks two TE’s combined.

*Quick San Diego Perspective: Gates had 77 receptions for 872 yards this season, both better than Julius Thomas. Sure he only had 4 touchdowns compared to Thomas’ 12, but Gates is getting double teamed all game long all year long, especially in the redzone. It’s kind of pathetic to think people say Gates ‘slowed down’ this year and is getting no respect.

Anyways, Julius Thomas is by far a stud.

Edge: Broncos

Defense:

Last year the Broncos seemed to be much more balanced. Their defense was ranked #2 in the league, as they dominated. This year they really have not played close to the level they did in 2012. With the loss of some players, and injuries of others, it has really hurt the    Denver’s Defense in 2013. It seemed as if they were playing catchup all season in terms of a unit and getting back to 2012 form. The Von Miller injury will be another setback for a defense that has made strides in the end of the year. The Broncos also have a much weaker secondary than the Seattle Seahawks, who arguably have the best defensive backfield in the entire NFL.

The Seahawks are stout on defense all around. Their Secondary is scary. Cliff Avril is having a great season and Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennet have been helpful off the edge. They play team defense and work off one another. No player ever seems to be lost.

Seattle also has a tremendous shut down secondary. They can play off press, man, zone, can blitz, and are stout tacklers. They have a lot of guys in that front seven who are versatile in pass and rush coverage. They are virtually good all around the defense and have solid glue guys and depth.

Edge: Seahawks

Matchup to Watch: Denver Broncos entire Receiving Corp vs. Seattle Seahawks Defensive Backs. 

This is going to be a fun matchup to watch. The “Legion of Boom” is by far the best group of Defensive Backs in the entire league. Richards Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor are having outstanding seasons. It is crazy to think they lost a few other DB’s from suspensions. They have also received positive contributions from nickelback Jeremy Lane.

As we talked about before, the Broncos receiving corp is phenomenal. Demaryius Thomas is an absolute beast. Wes Welker is near unstoppable in the short passing game and redzone. Eric Decker is an underrated receiver himself. He puts up big numbers and has had back-to-back double digit touchdown seasons. If we throw in Julius Thomas, its crazy to think about.

Still, Seattle has lock down cornerbacks. Earl Thomas will take Julius Thomas out of the game. From their it is going to be how Richard Sherman plays Demaryius Thomas. The Seattle defense will have to scheme appropriately to double team either DT or Wes Welker. I would assume they will double cover Wes Welker with a guy underneath and either a safety or nickel back. If they can lock down Welker easier than expected, than they can give Sherman some help over the top with Demaryius Thomas.

Either way this is going to be an extremely exciting matchup to watch. Honestly, this is one of the first Super Bowls I have been excited about in a while.

EDGE: Seahawks – slight edge, this group of Defensive Backs may be the best ever.

Final Prediction:

This is extremely hard for me to pick. According to http://www.bovada.lv, an online betting site, the Broncos are currently favored by 3.

The spread is somewhat easy to believe. Broncos have an elite, outstanding offense, with an above-average (at times leaky) defense  that has the potential to be a top 5 defense.

The Seahawks have an elite, outstanding defense, with an above average (at times leaky) offense. Do not buy the Seahawks being a top 5 offense, however. They have a great running game in Marshawn Lynch, who may very well be the x-factor. Lynch is their only true consistent playmaker. We saw a few weeks back when San Diego ran the ball down the throats of the Broncos and beat them on TNF. If the Seahawks can continue to run the ball effectively and keep Manning off the field, that will be the best chance for them to win.

It is really interesting to see how John Fox and the Denver Broncos’ game plan will play out. Maybe they will try to run the ball and come back in the passing game when Manning sees suit.

I am also really interested to see what kind of impact Percy Harvin has on this game. The Seahawks like getting big chunk plays and Russell Wilson seems to come in clutch for scores.

On paper it looks like the Broncos have the better team. But then again, the Seahawks have a pretty darn good team too. A few years/decades back people used to say Defense wins championships. It might not be like that anymore with Peyton Manning and his phenomenal season.

As a Chargers fan, my heart wants me to pick against the Broncos. That may be just too hard to do. I give the Broncos the edge but it will be a lower scoring game than usual for the Manning led offense.

Broncos 24 Seahawks 20

San Diego State Basketball #5

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National recognition and respect is being earned by the San Diego State Men’s Basketball team.

The Aztecs now sit at 18-1, with 17 straight wins and a 7-0 conference record. We have already talked about their numbers; they have statistically one of the best defenses in the entire country. The Associated Press and Coaches Poll keep bumping up the Aztec’s ranking as the season goes on and the wins continue.

That is what Steve Fisher said early on in the season. He knew he had a good team. Back then, when SDSU was not ranked, Steve Fisher seemed worry free. In an interview back in November, Fisher stated his team just needs to keep focused one game at a time and — most importantly — keep winning.

Winning is what the Aztecs have seemed to do. Although playing in some close games, they still have pulled through and found ways to win. What is even more impressive, as most SDSU fans know, their only loss has come to the Number #1 Ranked Arizona Wildcats, who are undefeated.

The Aztecs may stay in the Top 10 the rest of the season. The Mountain West Conference is much weaker this season, so the games here down the stretch are not as enticing to watch. They will be challenged by Boise St. in the upcoming weeks as well as New Mexico twice in the end of the year. As I mentioned in a previous article, SDSU is in position to possibly close out the regular season undefeated, or potentially with only a couple losses.

What is also good for SDSU’s ranking is the teams they have beat. Obviously, we know they have beat 3 ranked teams. Creighton is creeping back in the top 25, now ranked 20. They also beat Villanova last week who was ranked #4 at the time and had a dominant game out of star senior Doug McDermott (39 pts) last night. Kansas just seems to keep winning. They have beat multiple ranked teams since losing to the Aztecs and their top rated defense a few weeks back.

It is an exciting time to be an SDSU Basketball fan. The mindset of this program over the last few years has now come to the expectation to make the tournament. It is now about what we are going to do in the tournament. Steve Fisher and the Aztecs need to keep focused and continue to get better every game. They need to start finishing at the basket better and continuing to dominate on defense. getting a 1-2-3 ranking in our NCAA Regional Bracket would be a huge feat and put us in position to have a smooth run to the Sweet 16, or maybe more.

Thought of the Week – Super Bowl Locations & SB XLVIII

This week’s thought has been inspired by the peculiar location selection for Super Bowl XLVIII.

This year’s Super Bowl will be played in New Y-oh, Jersey. That’s right, not New York. It will be played at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, where both the New York Giants and Jets play.

Many have speculated at the fact that this will be an “In-the-Elements” type Super Bowl. Kick off temperature on Sunday is set to be right around 30 degrees, just at freezing.

What kind of Super Bowl is this? Some of you football diehards would argue that “football is played best in the elements” and that it is a man’s sport and the weather is apart of the game. When playing in the snow and the cold elements, those same fans would say “this is the best conditions for football.” That makes me think. Has anyone ever said “wow these conditions are not good to play in” when the game was in San Diego, Texas, New Orleans, or Florida? Probably not. They were probably thinking how great the conditions were.

Lets take a look back at all the Super Bowls. 

There has been 48 Super Bowls, including this year’s in New Yoerzy.

In the last 48 years there has only been 5 Super Bowls that have been played in a Cold Weather city (This year, Indianapolis, Detroit, Minnesota, Michigan). Lets take a look at the rest of the Super Bowls, broken down by state:

Florida – 15

California – 11 (7 Los Angeles, 3 San Diego, 1 Palo Alto).

Louisiana (All in New Orleans) – 10

Texas – 3

Georgia (ATL) – 2

Arizona – 2. Also notable, the 2015 Superbowl (49) is already scheduled to be in Arizona.

Every single one of these states is considered to be in a warm region of the United States. Florida has hosted Super Bowls in Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville. When looking at the Super Bowls in this fashion it is easy to see that majority of them are played in warm weather environment.

Even more notable, is the fact that every single Cold Weather city that has hosted a Super Bowl (up until this year) has been hosted in a Dome. Think about it. Indianapolis – Dome, Detroit – Dome, Metrodome in Minnesota, and the Dome in Michigan (Super Dome). Every Cold Weather city that has hosted a Super Bowl in the entire history of the game, has had a dome.

So why the all a sudden change?

To me, its just so New York can claim to have a Super Bowl and have the attention on them. It is so typical of the East Coast Bias and all the writers to endorse a New York Super Bowl. The sad part is that the state of New Jersey has taken a complete back burner to New York. If I was a citizen of New Jersey I would be a little upset. But then again, I wouldn’t be a citizen of New Jersey. It seems no one is acknowledging this.

Maybe this will be a learning lesson for the NFL. Maybe the elements will be so intense that it will completely ruin the way the game is played. Maybe Peyton Manning will have a terrible game because of the elements. Maybe people will call for the head of the commissioner. Or maybe not? This Super Bowl will tell the tail of future ones.

The last year has told us something else, regarding hosting the Big Game. If your city wants to host the Super Bowl, than an up-to-date stadium is an absolute must. Look at the San Francisco 49er franchise; after only hosting one Super Bowl in their history, they are now on the ballot in 2016 for a Super Bowl after building a new stadium. Not that Northern California has the warmest weather, but it is setting a standard. The NFL wants to be in these warmer areas, but also be in nicer, newer stadiums.

Furthermore, lets take a look at Southern California. This region of the United States has arguably the best weather in the entire country. The only region that could even come close in competition would be Florida. An argument for So Cal would be that Florida is much more humid and it rains quite often. The point is, Southern California should be an ideal spot for the Super Bowl, right?? Then how come there has not been a Super Bowl in the region since 2003 (San Diego)?

Southern California’s Super Bowl drought has got to be because there are no up-to-date stadiums. Think about it. Los Angeles has not had a franchise in nearly 20 years, and even the decade before then the Rams were playing in Orange County. Look at San Diego. Stadium is a dump, really. They’ve held the Super Bowl three times, but Jack Murphy Stadium, the “Q”, is just not up to standards anymore. The only reason they were able to host the game in ’03 was because they added 7,000 seats to the stadium leading up to that Super Bowl. So obviously the in-game experience for the fan is a huge deal. What happens when no one shows up to the game because it is too cold?

Another point I wanted to make was that this is the Championship Game for two groups of teams. These teams have worked their butts off all year long from the players, to the coaches, to the scouts. The Super Bowl is a big accomplishment and should be thought of as so, a celebration. Players should be rewarded for their long season and how much time and work they’ve put in to position their team for a Super Bowl berth. Every Pro-Bowl selection on a Super Bowl team has to deny their invitation to play in beautiful Hawaii. So why not give a little to these guys? Have Super Bowls in warm weather environments in order to show the true skill and talent levels of these professional athletes. Everyone wants to see a show here in the Super Bowl, and warm weather is the best environment to showcase the play of these athletes.

The cities that should be hosting the Super Bowl (Miami, New Orleans, San Diego, Houston) are all ideal vacation spots. Each city’s primary revenue is built around tourism. All cities are on the water. All cities are at least in the 60’s during winter time. Why not capitalize on the outstanding weather of these locations and keep Super Bowls coming for years in warm weather cities.

Rising Star: San Diego State Forward Winston Shepard

Winston Shepard has been a beast this year for SDSU and will only continue to develop his raw offensive talent.

CBS Philly

By Andrew Kahn

Winston Shepard wanted to go home. The Houston native was coming off a freshman season where he averaged 5.7 points, shot 39 percent, and turned it over as often as he assisted. The highest-rated recruit in San Diego State basketball history had tried too hard to prove himself. Fans and media members were disappointed. Coach Steve Fisher prefers his players stay on campus during the summer to take classes and work out with their teammates, but he made an exception for Shepard.

Shepard has rewarded Fisher as a sophomore. He’s second on the team with 13.2 points per game and averages 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists. The 6’8”, 205-pound Shepard often plays guard for the No. 10 Aztecs and has become a matchup nightmare in the Mountain West Conference.

At times last season, Winston couldn’t get out of his own way, according to Fisher. Ranked as the…

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Poll: SDSU’s 2014 Postseason Capabilities

San Diego State has not taken a year off after losing Jamaal Franklin to the NBA and 4-year starter Chase Tapley. Many thought SDSU was going to take a year off after losing Kawhi Leonard back in 2011, but Steve Fisher just seems to keep plugging along.

Some would argue that SDSU was better in the 2011-12 season than the 2012-13 season (both Jamaal and Chase’s stats were better in 2011-12 season), but they were able to achieve more in March Madness. The Aztecs were a #15 FGCU victory away from a Sweet 16 berth last season before the Cinderella story continued. SDSU was tied at half time but fell apart defensively in the second half.

What does 2014 bring? San Diego State is arguably much better than last year and maybe just up to par with the 2010-11 Sweet 16 team. San Diego State has a ton of players with an excellent bench this year. They are extremely athletic and play excellent defense. Really, the only thing that will limit them is their offensive game. Lacking at times, SDSU has it’s scorers. J.J. O’Brien was a big part of the offense until he injured his hand early in the season. He is playing, but still recovering. By the time March Madness rolls around, J.J. should be close to 100%.

So how good can SDSU be in 2014? How far can they go? This question will be even more interesting next year with the additions of some outstanding recruits.

SDSU Wins Challenging Road Victory in OT at Utah St.

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Although stressing out the fans, SDSU pulled through and prevailed in a tough road victory at Utah St.

Utah State had a fully packed house to host #7 SDSU, and I was honestly impressed with their fans. The Mountain West Conference has plenty of strong home field advantages and Utah State is apart of that. Their fans did an unclasp, yet San Diego-esque taunt of the opposing team when they sung the Aztecs “I Believe” chant. We believe a little more, Utah State.

It was a gritty and tough win, but SDSU prevailed. Good teams seem to win close road games.

The Aztecs were leading by 4 at half time, 28-24, but got beat 33-29 in the second half to force overtime. The game was close the entire second half, and for a period of time late in the second half, the Aggies held onto a 4 point lead. For some reason when I was watching this, it still seemed as though the game was in SDSUs hands. Although not in control, it seemed still controllable.

SDSU pulled ahead in the final minutes to take a 57-54. Xavier Thames missed a late free throw that would have put the game away for good. Spencer Butterfield, on the Aggies, hit a phenomenal three point shot with 2.5 seconds left in the game over two defenders. It was honestly a terrific shot and you have to give all the credit to the kid. Josh Davis and J.J. O’Brien were in his face playing smothering defense and yet he somehow was able to drain the 3.

The Aztecs did not panic. They went on to outscore Utah St. 17-12 in the extra period. Xavier Thames had 10 points in overtime.

For the game, Xavier Thames beasted and was ultra-clutch. He scored 31 points, setting a new career high. Thames really had a complete game as he also managed to haul in 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. He shot 3-6 from 3-pt (10-21 total), including a dagger that seemed to put the game away in overtime. SDSU led 61-60, and Thames drained an extremely deep three that put the Aztecs up 4.

After that, Utah State was pretty much forced to foul. Thames also contributed 8-10 from the Free Throw line, with a handful coming in overtime. This seems to be how the season has gone though. When SDSU has a close lead late, they hold on with the almost-automatic free throw shooting from Thames.

X-FACTor: SDSU Turnover Margin +11

The win was not pretty by any means, but it is a win. Road victories in conference play are hard to come by, so SDSU should not feel disheartened by ‘barely’ beating the Aggies. This win shows America that SDSU will keep fighting to get a win and will excel with the play of Xavier Thames and their swarming defense.