San Diego State started off the 2017/18 season with a new Head Coach in Brian Dutcher after the legendary Steve Fisher retired. Dutcher served 18 years as an assistant head coach and the last six years as the Associate Head Coach/Head Coach in Waiting. No one knew how the season was about to unfold.
During the non-conference the Aztecs put up a ton of points on a ranked USC squad during a closed door scrimmage. In the first six games the Aztecs would score 90 + points three times and 80+ points twice. During the entire 2016/17 season the Aztecs would only score 80+ points six times. Early on in the season the Aztecs got run out of the gym (90-68) by a great ASU team at the time. ASU would be ranked as high as #2 in the nation before falling apart later on in the season. The biggest non-conference win of the season came against No.12 Gonzaga on December 21st with the Aztecs winning 72-70 at home.
The Aztecs went into the conference slate with a record of 10 & 2. During the middle of conference play the Aztecs hit an eight game skid only winning two of eight, twice losing two or more games back to back. This was almost unheard of during the Steve Fisher era at SDSU. The Aztecs would then go on a major winning streak. The Aztecs won the final six games of the season leading into the 2018 Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The Aztecs continued their winning ways in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. They defeated Fresno State a team that had beaten the Aztecs twice during the conference season. The Aztecs then met with the 2018 Mountain West Regular Season Champion Nevada Wolfpack, a team they had split the regular season with. The Aztecs played the most dominating game of the season defeating Nevada by almost 20 points 90 to 73. The Aztecs then advanced to the Mountain West Conference Tournament Finals against the University of New Mexico Lobos. The Aztecs playing for a bid in March Madness for the first time since since 2015. The Aztecs defeated UNM by a score of 82 to 75. Senior Trey Kell was named the 2018 Mountain West Conference Tournament MVP.
Coach Brian Dutcher made one heck of a run with the Aztecs winning nine straight games to make it to the big dance. In the opinion of many Aztec fans Coach Dutcher should have been named the 2018 Coach of The Year. Aztec Fans are not the only ones.
The following is a quote by University of New Mexico Head Coach Paul Weir.
“I said in the handshake line (after the game), he’s coach of the year as far as I’m concerned – the way he managed this season and got his team playing well and got all those kids bought in. (LINK)”
The Aztecs season came down to the final seconds against the University of Houston in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This was a very successful season for first year HC Brian Dutcher. The Aztecs ended the season with a record of 22-11. One of the noticeable things about the Aztecs was the defense was not as lock down as it was in the past. The Aztecs gave up an average of 67 points per game this season. That is six points more then they allowed the pervious season. However, the Aztecs would score an average of 83 points per game. That is up an average of nine points more per game in 17/18. The Aztecs would end the season with 12 games of 80 or more points scored.
To add on to that, here’s what Sports Betting Dimes has to say about the Aztecs’ 2018/19 season, “The 2018-19 Aztecs face a massive uphill climb to the NCAA Tournament. The Mountain West would have been a one-bid league this year if Nevada had won the conference tournament, and the Wolfpack are likely to return four of their top-five scorers, meaning they’ll enter next season as heavy favorites to win a second consecutive regular season title. SDSU, meanwhile, will lose both Malik Pope and Trey Kell, the centerpieces of this year’s tournament team, and they don’t have a single four or five-star recruit coming in. That said, freshman forwards Matt Mitchell and Jalen McDaniels had promising first years. If they can build off that and get more production from Devin Watson — who will have the chance to shoulder the offense — the Aztecs will remain competitive. If Indiana transfer Max Montana plays up to his potential, the Aztecs could be more than just competitive, especially with Boise State, New Mexico, and Fresno State all losing key players, as well. Currently, the Aztecs’s odds on winning the Mountain West next year set at 8/1.”
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