The Aztecs were picked to win the league in the preseason and they’ve shown why. Has this team played and performed like you thought? If not, what has been different?
I think they are now. They certainly weren’t in November and December, when they went 7-6 and lost three at home, including back-to-back games at Viejas Arena for the first time in 11 years. But this team was always going to take longer to coalesce because of its youth, with two freshmen starters and two sophomores in the rotation. If anything, most figured this team would be better offensively and a little worse defensively than last season. In reality, the two teams have been pretty alike — challenged on offense, nails on defense.
WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Tod Leonard, who helps cover San Diego State men’s basketball for the San Diego Union-Tribune, about Tuesday night’s game with the University of Wyoming at 9:05 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.
Follow on Twitter: @sdutleonard
How surprised are you that San Diego State is No. 5 in the nation, undefeated in the MW and winners of 20 straight games? Wasn’t this supposed to be somewhat of a transition season for the Aztecs?
With the Mountain West Player of the Year from last season, Jamaal Franklin, leaving one season early for the NBA, there seemed to be a consensus in the Mountain West that this would be a transition season. The Aztecs were picked by the coaches to finish fourth in the conference. Nobody, including San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, saw a 20-game winning streak or 10-0 start in the MW coming. The team is young, and point guard Xavier Thames, who had a history of back trouble, needed to fill Franklin’s role and the Aztecs had to get a big contribution from sophomore forward Winston Shepard. Both have produced, and 6-feet-10 sophomore Skylar Spencer has come up big on the inside defense with 54 blocked shots in the past 20 games.