San Diego State Basketball: 2022-23 season preview and outlook for Aztecs

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San Diego State Basketball Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t a lot to like about the San Diego State basketball program before Steve Fisher took it over around the turn of the century. In these last few decades, there’s been plenty to like about a program that quite certainly has been the best in the Mountain West. Although Fisher retired in 2017, longtime assistant Brian Dutcher has done fantastic work continuing the momentum and success for these Aztecs.

For the Aztecs, defense has been the calling card, and it’s been pretty electric and dominant in recent years. It was that lockdown defense that carried the team last season, finishing 2nd in the nation in defensive efficiency. That last season was another successful one for the Aztecs, and they made the NCAA Tournament for the third time since Dutcher became head coach, but the season ended in slight disappointment.

For the third time since Dutcher took over, the Aztecs fell in the first round of the Big Dance. It’s hard to complain as a head coach when you win 119 games in your first five seasons, but this Aztecs team is capable of much more than a series of early exits. What likely irks those involved with the Aztecs the most is how the program’s best team in program history wasn’t given a shot at that postseason glory when the 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled by the pandemic.

If we’re looking ahead, and this is a season preview so we certainly are, then there’s reason to have that level of excitement again. This year’s Aztec squad is shaping up to be their best since that team three years ago that started 26-0. Obviously, we’re not expecting this team to win their first 26 games again, but this roster is strong and deep and should take a bit of a step forward after last season, adding a couple of nice pieces and returning a few of their biggest stars.

We’ll be taking a closer look at this Aztecs team for the upcoming season, with particular focus on the pieces on the roster and what to expect this year. San Diego State has been a staple near the top of the Mountain West standings and that’s likely to continue this season. However, with a strong defense and a few new playmakers on the roster, is this the team the Aztecs finally have their deep run into the Big Dance?

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