The San Diego State Aztecs survived what some would call the toughest stretch of their schedule with a 5-1 record. Their only loss came against Arizona in the EA Sports Maui Invitational championship game.
Before the tournament started, I wrote a little piece about where I thought the Aztecs stood, and where they might stand after the tournament. My thoughts were that, "We should have a pretty good idea of what this team is made of by the time the ESPN Maui Invitational is over." At this point I'd say we do, and it's not much different than what I thought before the tournament.
The Aztecs are getting it done as a team this year. Seeing a team rally behind a collective of players, starters and non starters, is an awesome sight in any sport. They're all brothers within the umbrella of the SDSU men's basketball family that Steve Fisher has built throughout his time on campus.
You could draw players' names out of a hat and point to a stretch of minutes, or entire game, where that player was the most important guy on the court. Looking at their lone defeat of the season, the same principles apply in that the Aztecs went down as a team with 13-24 shooting from the line and 14 turnovers.
It's pretty fun to watch the current brand of SDSU basketball when they win. But When the Aztecs lose -- yes they will lose a couple more times this year -- it's not all that fun.
It's frustrating to watch a guy like Dwayne Polee II not attempt a shot in the second half against Arizona after playing like the Polee we've been waiting for in the first half. Watching Skylar Spencer dominate the paint on the defensive end in Aztec victories gives me a new appreciation for everything in life that is beautiful. When I have to watch his funky free-throw stroke and the bricks that ensue during an SDSU loss, I can't help but question life's meaning and purpose.
So just as I predicted this team's post-tournament status, I'll make another one. Only this time, it's focused on this team's status in the early days of May when there is no more basketball to be played.
The Aztecs win and lose as a team, and with the chances of star or go-to guy emerging from the roster slimming with time, it'll probably stay like that. Therein lies the extraordinary privilege fans get to enjoy this season: not knowing who the best player is. Not knowing who will be trusted with the final shot in close games. These instances of unpredictability make the investment of trust and unconditional love for the man at the helm and his boys all the more special.
It's also the reason that when this season is all said and done we'll realize that for the last seven months we've been watching the greatest group of Aztecs in program history.