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2014 NCAA tournament: Predicting how far San Diego State can go

Time to take a look at San Diego State's path in the tournament, and how far they can go.

This year's NCAA tournament is fairly wide open with a lot of teams who have a legitimate claim to cutting down the nets in Arlington, Texas, in the first week of April. Before we get to that point lets take a look and see how far the San Diego St. Aztecs can go in the tournament.

The experts from Las Vegas to the advanced stats people have already weighed in on San Diego State's chances, and they give San Diego State about a 40 percent chance to make it to the Sweet 16. The first round game for San Diego State has them going up against WAC champion, and No. 13 seed, New Mexico St. Aggies.

The big thing about the Aggies, is literally their center who stands at 7-feet-5-inches in Sim Bhullar and he will be a tough matchup for the Aztecs. He scores 10 points and grabs seven rebounds per game, but he also averages 3.6 blocks per game.

The Aztecs will likely run the ball on offense and will make Bhullar be ineffective in a fast-paced, up-and-down game. The Aggies do have Daniel Mullings who averages 16.8 points per game and will be the main offensive threat for New Mexico State. However, San Diego State will get past New Mexico State, and with ease.

A possible second round matchup will pit the Aztecs up against the high scoring No. 12 North Dakota St. Bisons or a possible rematch with last year's first round opponent in No. 5 seeded Oklahoma Sooners. San Diego State should be able to get past both, but the easier matchup, believe it or not, will be playing Oklahoma. The Aztecs defense is good but their offense is too much of a hit or miss team, and the Bison can score a lot of points and if this game happens it could cause trouble for the Aztecs, they just can't keep pace.

My prediction is that Steve Fisher will find a way to coach his team to a Sweet 16 appearance, and if this happens then there is a huge matchup looming against top-seeded Arizona Wildcats.

This is a very winnable game for the Aztecs because for one this will be the second matchup of the season, and San Diego State was very close to upsetting the Wildcats at home back in November. This potential No. 1 vs. No. 4 matchup will be played in Anaheim, Calif., and the lower seeded Aztecs have played well at the Honda Center and could very much have a home crowd advantage over Arizona.

My personal predictions actually have San Diego State topping Arizona and then going onto the Final Four after defeating No. 3 Creighton. A quick reason why San Diego State has a good chance to top Doug McDermott is because of the style of defense that the Aztecs will use, and that will include pressing and different zone combinations.

San Diego State will ultimately fall to Wichita State in Final Four to conclude their best season in school history. The Aztecs do need to play great basketball to make the Final Four, as does any other team, but the coaching with Fisher and the defense that San Diego State presents really make them an ideal team to make a run. The one big concern, and it is a big one, is that their offense can go cold at times. Having a good defense can over come a poor offense, but San Diego State will need their offense to have a better showing in the tournament compared to the regular season if they are going to make it to the Final Four.