Once it was official that San Diego State's basketball team was heading to the Big West for the 2013-14 basketball season they ultimately became the most powerful team in that league, and the Aztecs intended to use that to make things go their way. The drop from the Mountain West to the Big West in RPI is huge, currently the Mountain West is ranked No. 5 in conference RPI with the Big West toiling at No. 22. The Mountain West has six teams in the top-100 while the Big West has seven of their nine teams below outside of the top-100, but it gets worse then that as four teams are ranked in the 200 range and one team at 343 so the drop is significant.San Diego State's arrival will help the league RPI, but the Aztecs are really just looking out for themselves. The Big West is to have 11 basketball playing members by the time San Diego State enters the league, but head coach Steve Fisher argued to keep league play at 14 games instead of a 20-game round-robin schedule:
Fourteen is also the number of conference basketball games that SDSU coach Steve Fisher lobbied hard for -- "I voiced my opinion," as he put it -- in negotiations with the Big West as the Aztecs sought a home for their other sports after announcing a 2013 move to the Big East in football only. The Big West will have 11 member schools by 2013, and a balanced schedule would mean 20 conference games.
That would leave Fisher with only 10 or 11 to get enough high-profile games to offset the expected dip in power rating from playing in a league that last season was ranked 25th nationally out of 33 conferences. Fewer conference games mean more nonconference games -- 16 or 17 with a 14-game Big West schedule – and that, Fisher said, "gives us latitude and flexibility."
"I think we'll have enough wiggle room," Fisher said, "where we could get an at-large bid."
San Diego State wants the extra games to boost their RPI to enhance their at-large resume. They are already working on a home-and-home with Connecticut, and there is the possibility about setting up games against other Big East teams to throw a bone to the basketball team that is getting left behind as the football team is going to the Big East.
I don't think the shortened conference schedule and a handful of games against the Big East can lead to getting an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament. It will take years of getting NCAA tournament wins and the occasional deep run in March to give the Big West enough
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