SDSU students rally behind Aztecs men’s basketball team ahead of playoffs
After a hard-fought victory at Fresno State last week, the San Diego State men's basketball team is ranked No. 22 in the country by the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 20 by the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Students are taking notice and showing up for the team at their home arena.
“There’s nothing like it every single time. They're just loud — raucous. It sucks to be the other team, that's for sure,” said SDSU junior Michael Schmidt about the home crowd atmosphere.
The team is sole possession of first place in the Mountain West conference.
“The students are getting excited. It's getting closer to the end of the season, and you can tell the campus is getting excited,” said SDSU student Benjamin Fernando.
Coach Brian Dutcher said even with their team’s success this year, they can't take anything for granted.
“Every time we play, it's for first place,” Dutcher said. “We've got a game lead with four to go. We know that the schedule ahead of us is tough, starting with Colorado State and the road games at New Mexico, at Boise and then finishing with Wyoming. The nice thing is we control our own destiny.”
Fans like freshmen Sydney Gipson and Vanessa Galvan are fully committing to the team. They plan to watch their first game in the student section Tuesday night, and are looking forward to the playoffs and college basketball's biggest tournament.
“Hopefully they make it to March Madness,” Gipson said. “That was interesting to watch last year, especially since I was coming here. That'll be fun.”
The Aztecs are currently 21-5 overall, and 12-2 in the Mountain West.
Guard Adam Seiko said the team is looking to build off of last year’s March Madness appearance.
“You know in the back of our heads we want to make the tournament. We're in a pretty good position for that right now. But, we try not to talk about it as much,” Seiko said. “We've got to focus on winning the regular season conference championship.”
The team squares off against the Colorado State Bulldogs at Viejas Arena at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
College basketball’s biggest event, March Madness, kicks off on March 14.