The San Diego State Aztecs, who finished their regular season last week with two road victories over Boise St and TCU, will enter the Mountain West Conference Tournament ranked 18th in the AP.
SDSU has resided in the top 25 since the start of the conference schedule. Few could have predicted the success that the Aztecs have achieved this season. This is a team who lost four starters - three to graduation, and one to the NBA draft. No preseason poll had them ranked, winning the Mountain West Conference, or making the NCAA Tournament. If this is a rebuilding year, it's a wonder where SDSU will be in the rankings next season.
Coach Fisher and the gang will head to Las Vegas this week for the Mountain West Conference Tournament, ranked 18th in the AP and 21st in the Coaches poll. More importantly, they'll be the #1 seed.
SDSU has won the conference tournament each of the last two years. Because New Mexico and UNLV are the #2 and #3 seeds, respectively, SDSU will only have to face off against one of the teams at most if they wish to repeat as conference tournament champions for a third year in a row.
Unlike in previous seasons, winning the conference tournament isn't a necessity for the Aztecs to make the NCAA Tournament. But their overall placement on Selection Sunday could benefit greatly with another tournament victory. SDSU tasted victory in the NCAA tournament last year, and you can expect they'll be hungry for more in 2012.