Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: San Diego State and Colorado State lead a strong Mountain West

Dec 31, 2022; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; A general view as a basketball bounces over the
Dec 31, 2022; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; A general view as a basketball bounces over the / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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San Diego State Aztecs 14-2, 3-0 in the Mountain West

Let’s begin by looking at the national runner-up, San Diego State. Brian Dutcher’s team is now 14-2 and 3-0 in league play after beating San Jose State and sweeping their first full week of league play. They have won seven in a row and enter a big three-game stretch beginning Saturday when they travel to the Pit to take on New Mexico. They then host Nevada and finish up the stretch with a road game at Boise State on 1/20. Their non-conference slate was highlighted by a 10-point win at Gonzaga.

As is always the case with a Dutcher-coached team, the Aztecs bring the defense every night. After their win over San Jose State, they are the 20th-best team in defensive efficiency. Since losing to Grand Canyon they have stepped up the defensive effort, allowing 62.7 points per game, and opponents are shooting just 39% over that time. If a team is going to score on the Aztecs they need to do it inside the arc because opponents shoot just 29% from three-point land. Offensively, senior forward Jaedon LeDee has been an absolute star for the Aztecs. He leads them in both scoring at 22 per game and rebounding, pulling down 8.8 boards per contest. The 6’9 forward is shooting 57% from the field and knocking down 40% from deep on 25 attempts.

San Diego State enters Wednesday’s action 21st in the NET ranking and have strong numbers all over their resume. They have the 39th best strength of schedule, a metric average of 22.25 and have a 4-2 record in the first two quads with their losses to BYU and Grand Canyon landing in the first quad right now. The strength of the conference will be a strength for the Aztecs moving forward because 10 of their remaining games are against teams ranked 58th or higher in the NET.