The San Diego State Aztecs survived a wacky men's March Madness tournament and are now in the school's first-ever Final Four. Having long been the titans of the Mountain West, this senior-laden squad could be forging a path to a much larger and more profitable future.
Could this magical postseason run lead to an invite to join the waning Pac-12?
The short: The champs of the Mountain West enter the Final Four with a 31-6 record. The school is a March Madness staple, but this run is the farthest they've ever gone, having been knocked out in the Sweet 16 twice before. They got here by relying on their stalwart defense and their veteran presence - the Aztecs honored eight players at their school's Senior Night. They're a deep team getting contributions from nearly everyone on the roster as nine players average over 15 minutes a game.
Head Coach Brain Dutcher: While the team hasn't been in the Final Four before, Dutcher has. He served for 18 years as an assistant to the legendary Steve Fisher and won a championship with the Fab-Five of Michigan in 1989. In 2017, he took over the Aztecs after Fisher retired and has won 75% of his games as a head coach.
Depth is key: In their four tournament victories, the Aztecs had four different players lead them in scoring including senior guard and leading point-scorer Matt Bradley and 5-foot-10 smooth-shooting point guard Darrion Trammell.
Returning leaders: Both Nathan Mensah and Aguek Arop celebrated their senior nights last season before deciding to come back and have one more run at a championship, with Arop getting practices off during the season to heal his worn out body. The Aztecs wouldn't be here without their returns.
Conference realignment incoming?: When UCLA and USC left the Pac-12 to chase the monsters of Michigan, it left a sour taste in everyone's mouth. Everyone that is, except Brian Dutcher. "Southern California has a really good team sitting in San Diego". That it does.
Final Four opponent: No. 9 FAU
When to watch: Saturday, April 1st at 6 pm ET on CBS
What is a spread bet?: A bet on who will win or lose and by how much.
Here’s how the Aztecs have performed so far in the tournament: Taking down 12-seed Charleston and 13-seed Furman was expected. Defeating the overall top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide was not. That W was arguably the biggest win in school history. That is, until they held onto beat Creighton in the Elite 8.
Advice: This bet is considered a tossup! Place this bet if you think SD State moves onto the final.
What is a moneyline bet?: A bet on who will win the game!
Here’s how the Aztecs have performed this year: They're on an eight-game winning streak.
Advice: This bet is considered more likely to happen. The minus sign (-) indicates that San Diego is favored to win. Take this bet if you think the Aztecs will win.
What is an over/under bet?: A bet on the combined score of two teams.
The total scores of the Aztecs’ tournament games have been: 120 points, 127 points, 135 points and 113 points.
Advice: This bet is considered a tossup. Place this bet if you believe the Aztecs' defense will show up.