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Enjoy San Diego’s best team of the last decade while you can.
The San Diego State men’s basketball team begins its quest for a national championship tonight against the Oklahoma Sooners in Philadelphia.
That may seem like a strange way to phrase it, but the championship is the ultimate goal of every school in the 68-team NCAA tournament.
This is the fourth consecutive tournament appearance for the Aztecs. The dominant 2010-11 squad made it to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to the Connecticut Huskies, who went on to win the whole thing. This year’s team hopes to avoid the fate of their 2009-10 and 2011-12 predecessors that lost their first tournament game.
A win over Oklahoma would salvage an otherwise disappointing campaign for the Aztecs. They opened the season as the 20th-ranked team in the country, but fell out of the rankings and ended the season with a 9-7 record within the Mountain West conference.
Regardless of their performance in this year’s tournament, Head Coach Steve Fisher’s Aztecs have been the most successful San Diego team in a major sport over the past decade. Since 2003, SDSU has compiled a .677 winning percentage.
With apologies to women’s sports, college baseball, ultimate frisbee and everything else, here’s how major San Diego teams have fared the past 10 years (records include postseason games):
SDSU Basketball: 224-107, .677 (5 NCAA Tournament appearances)
San Diego Chargers: 98-70, .583 (5 NFL playoff appearances)
San Diego Padres: 786-842, .482 (2 MLB playoff appearances)
SDSU Football: 54-68, .443 (3 bowl game appearances)
USD Basketball: 140-176, .443 (1 NCAA Tournament appearance)
Despite the long trip to the East Coast, San Diego State is expected to beat Oklahoma. The Aztecs opened as 1.5 point favorites and gamblers have since bet the line up to 3 points in favor of SDSU.
Should the 7th-seeded Aztecs win, they would likely face the 2nd-seeded Georgetown Hoyas on Sunday. They would not be favored in that game.
This will be the final postseason run for seniors Chase Tapley, DeShawn Stephens and James Rahon, and may be the last for probably-NBA-bound Jamaal Franklin. Enjoy San Diego’s best team of the last decade while you can.
Tonight’s game is on TBS, with tip-off slated for approximately 6:20 p.m. You can also watch all the tournament games online here.
Correction: An earlier version of this post listed the wrong number of teams that enter the tournament.