The Aztecs keep winning and they’re national stance keeps strengthening.
This past weekend 5 top-10 teams lost, including #1 Arizona. Despite all these losses, SDSU kept its position at #5. SDSU’s only loss is to Arizona who dropped to #2 as Syracuse advanced to #1 after escaping #11 Duke in an overtime thriller.
The Aztecs only played one game last week. Steve Fisher was still able to gain his 300th win as the Aztec’s head coach.
SDSU played Colorado St at home who they beat pretty convincingly 65-56. Steve Fisher’s team was up by double digits primarily the entire game entering halftime with a 12 point lead. Only until the last few minutes did Colorado St. break the lead to single-digits when they went on a run.
The stellar play of senior guard Xavier Thames allowed the Aztecs to prevail. Thames scored 24 points improving his per game average to 18 points. Winston Shepard also added 17 points and 6 rebounds. Xavier Thames was also impressive on the boards with 7.
This rebound production out of Shepard and Thames was necessary with star forward Josh Davis out with a knee injury. Dwayne Polee also sat out with a sickness. Josh Davis’ production is a huge part of why SDSU is the #5 ranked team in the country. He currently averages 11.6 rebounds per game, which ranks 3rd in the entire country. SDSU got production out of J.J. O’Brien to make up for Davis. O’Brien finished with 10 rebounds and only 1 point. J.J. is still recovering from an injured hand and Fisher has not relied on his offense game during the bulk of the season.
It is still unknown if Josh Davis will play tonight against Boise State. They will need him. Saturday night verse Colorado St. was only the second time all season (Arizona) that SDSU did not out-rebound it’s opponent. They tied, going 40-40. Dwayne Polee should play in Boise, so that may help out a bit. SDSU could use Davis’ production verse a pesky Boise St. offense.
Xavier Thames also managed to go 12-for-12 from the free throw line. The rest of the Aztecs went a combined 11-22 from the line. If SDSU wants to seriously compete in the NCAA Tournament, they will need to improve their free throw percentage. They have a ton of physical athletic players who draw fouls as they drive to the basket. They need to take advantage of their opportunities as they will get fouled a lot in tournament play. Xavier has been solid all season and currently ranks #7 on the Player of the Year Award watch-list.
Boise St. has played SDSU extremely close in recent years. They have an outstanding outside game with great 3-point shooters. This game will come down to rebounds and how the Aztec defense plays in Idaho.
From this point on the rest of the season, all Mountain West Conference teams will be playing the Aztecs very tough. At #5, it will essentially be every team in the conference’s biggest game of the season. It will be the ‘Super Bowl’ for every team, if you will. SDSU needs to take notice of this and not let their feet off the pedal. They need to keep playing dominant defense and keep up that #1 ranking in opponent FG%. New Mexico is really the only other seemingly guaranteed team to make the NCAA tournament. There are a couple bubble teams in our conference, including Boise St., who could make the tournament with a win against an excellent #5 SDSU Aztec team.
Lets play some defense, finish around the basket, at make some free throws and we will win.