San Diego State’s record-setting season continued with a 15-point win over Nevada. That’s 20 straight wins – tying a program best. It’s also 10 straight wins to start the Mountain West season – best conference start in school history.
Yet the Aztecs (21-1) can’t seem to get past No. 5. They are ranked fifth in the latest AP and USA Today coaches polls for the third straight week. The team’s highest ranking came in 2010-11, when they won 20 straight games to start the season and hit No. 4 in the rankings.
That team finished 34-3 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
“Sometimes you've got to get lucky, and we've been lucky a few times,” head coach Steve Fisher said of this year’s win streak. “Good teams are in position to win games. The curious part for me is what the nation would think if we lost a game. Would we move down one or two spots like some of the blue-bloods do, or would we free-fall seven spots? I hope we don't experience that, but we probably will and we'll see if that happens."
The Aztecs will get two more chances to impress the pollsters this week with a road game at Wyoming on Tuesday and a home contest against Air Force on Saturday. Wyoming is 5-5 in the conference but has lost three of its last four. Air Force sits near the bottom of the standings a 3-8 and has lost six straight.
SDSU’s next big test probably won’t come until next weekend, when the Aztecs head to Albuquerque to play New Mexico (18-4, 9-1). The Lobos are probably the only other team able to challenge for a conference regular-season title.
"Our main goal is to win the conference,” Fisher said. “We're barely ahead of New Mexico and we want to win the next one. … Our kids have done a really good job of enjoying the moment and getting ready for the next one. So I feel confident that we'll be fine.”
The win streak is no surprise to senior guard Xavier Thames, who led the Aztecs with 17 points in Saturday’s win over Nevada.
“From the first man to the last man, we've all been working very hard on our game and working hard on our defensive and offensive schemes,” he said. “We kind of expected to be in this roll."