Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher invoked the words of one of history's greatest orators to motivate his team. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Saturday night in Las Vegas, the Aztecs men's basketball team lost for the 8th time, and they still have five regular season games left to play.
Last year's team didn't lose its 8th game until the finale of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Still, head coach Steve Fisher thinks, between the two squads, this year's version is superior.
"As I watch and I evaluate, I do think we have a better team than we had last year," said Fisher on Monday. "It's obviously not reflected in the most recent success, or lack of, but I still believe that."
SDSU has lost 5 of its last 9 games, but it's hard to deny they are not a substantially better defensive team. he Aztecs allow just 59.1 points per game, tied for 30th nationally (out of 345 programs) with Louisville and Ohio St.
The difference comes in getting that one crucial shot to fall. Last year, it almost always went down. This year, as evidenced by Jamaal Franklin getting called for a suspect traveling violation in the final seconds against UNLV, the big plays just aren't materializing.
Coach Fisher says he's proud of his team's effort. Now, it's time for that effort to start yielding some results.
"Winston Churchill said, 'Sometimes your best is not enough. Do what's required,'" said Fisher. "Don't do your best. Don't tell me 'I did my best,' do what's required."
The San Diego State women's team has figured out the best way to win close games.
Just don't play them.
The Aztecs have won 10 straight games, by an average of 20 points a game. When asked if her team has adopted a new style during the streak, she said yes. And, no.
"I'd say the style of now we're playing defense and before we weren't, if that's a style," said Burns. "Most teams like offense. They really lock in on when we're doing something new on offense. But if we can get a stop, and get a defensive board, then we can play to our strengths and get out in the open court and use our speed."
The way Coach Burns has her team playing, they'll run right in to the Top-25, and do it awfully fast.
Both the Aztecs men and women play Wyoming next. The men on Tuesday night at Viejas Arena, the women on Wednesday in Laramie.