clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Aztecs Upset Crimson Tide 71-64. Advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in history

Aztecs defense controls Alabama in a classic upset

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament South Regional-San Diego State vs Alabama Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports


The Aztecs (30-6) have gone where no Mountain West team has gone before. Behind Darrion Trammell’s 21 points, the Aztecs took down Alabama (31-6) and have a date in the Elite Eight against the winner of the Creighton and Princeton game. The winner of that game advances to Houston for the Final Four on Saturday, April 1.

No one outside of the Aztec program gave San Diego State much of a chance against the nations number one team. On a night when both remaining number-one seeds lost, this game was most assuredly the biggest upset. The Mountain West will be represented on the national stage as one of the eight remaining teams in the ever-surprising tournament. Tenacious defense and constant substituting by coach Brian Dutcher helped to find the best combination of players at any given moment.

Both teams struggled to score shooting less than 40% on the night. Smothering defenses led to a 28-23 Aztec lead at halftime. Five minutes into the second half, the Crimson Tide had flipped the script and outscored the Aztecs 13-4. It looked like Cinderella would lose her slipper for good. Enter Darrion Trammell. He provided the much-needed offensive spark on a night when leading scorer Lamont Butler was held to four points. Jaedon Ledee added 12 points and six rebounds. Everyone contributed on the boards with Nathan Mensah and Micah Parrish leading the way with eight. The Aztecs were out-rebounded by Alabama 52-48, a direct reflection of the poor shooting. The Aztecs held Alabama All-American freshman Brandon Miller to nine points, ten below his season average. He did manage 11 boards, high for the game. The Tide was led by Junior guard Mark Sears with sixteen points.

San Diego State will face the winner of Creighton and Princeton, currently underway. As the five seed, they are the lowest seed in the bracket. After taking down Alabama, the Aztecs may have gone light-years ahead in the South region. A little prognosticating might show the Aztecs winning on Saturday and heading into Houston against the winner of Florida Atlantic or Kansas State. The Wildcats at a three-seed would probably be favored in the semi-finals. Could it be a reach to consider the Aztecs in the title game on Monday?

That’s why it’s called March Madness. Some amazing games. Some surprise upsets and some not-so-surprising. This game certainly qualifies as an upset. In fact, it would have been quite illogical before the game to presume that the Aztecs would win. Experts say defense wins championships. We could be on the verge of seeing that play out. Brackets busted, some dreams smashed, while others are realized. What a great tournament.