SDSU Prepares For NCAA Tournament
Coach Steve Fisher describes what comes to mind when he hears the words March Madness.
"Basketball...non-stop basketball, 24-7 all consuming basketball," Fisher said.
Thousands of people will be watching the action on TV, the internet and some on the job.
"It's the greatest sports spectacle in the world," Fisher said. "And I say that not because I'm a part of it because its a fact. It captivates the attention for a three-week period like nothing else does."
Aztec fever is spreading. The team finally got the monkey off its back with a victory over division rival BYU last weekend. Beating the only team they've lost to this season to win the Mountain West Conference championship.
Sports Columnist Jay Paris with the North County Times said Fisher and his team drew a good card for the tournament.
"To be able to play nearby in Tucson Arizona 350 miles away and then if you advance there go just up the road to Anaheim for your regional that's pretty good," Paris said. "You're not fighting time zones, you're not fighting long travel or fans from other teams."
The NCAA tournament has a new look this year. Its expanded to include 68 teams from across the country. The first task for SDSU -- win a game at the big dance.
"We are determined to make this the year that San Diego State gets their first post season NCAA Division One win," Fisher said.
He described how the team will get past the first round.
"We haven't, but we will," Fisher said. "We've been to three NCAA Tournaments prior to this season and have lost in the first round. Two of those including last year when we played Tennessee in Providence we had a chance to win."
Jay Paris also contemplates whether the Aztecs should be worried about Northern Colorado.
"You should be worried about everything," Paris said. "At this stage of a season how a team reacts to playing with those expectations...how a team reacts to beating those they're supposed to beat. In getting Northern Colorado here's a team that's never played in the NCAA tournament so some bodies going to get their first win and it should be San Diego State."
The Aztecs will be relying on the leadership of one of the smallest players on the team. At 6 feet tall, and that may be stretching it. Guard DJ Gay plays the most minutes and is a tireless work horse.
"Its something I've prided myself on every since I was a little kid. My dad always tells me you have to keep working because when you aren't working somebody else is," Gay said. "That's something I took to heart. I had to do two to three times as much just to get to that point."