basketball

Aztecs Rising in Top-25 … But Will They Be Left Out of March Madness?

SDSU men's basketball team now ranked in both major polls

I don't care who you're playing ... an eight-game winning streak where every single win is by double digits and most come by more than 25 points is impressive.

San Diego State's men's basketball team hasn't been facing the elite schools of the Mountain West Conference of late but they've done what good teams are supposed to do to bad teams and kicked all their tails.

The nation is taking notice. The Aztecs moved up to number 22 in the latest AP poll and moved to 25th in the Coaches poll, the first time they've been in both Top-25 rankings since back-to-back losses at Utah State.

Now, being ranked this late in the season is usually a good sign when it comes to making the NCAA Tournament field. This year, however, things are anything but usual.

Bracketology, the "science" of projecting who gets to experience March Madness, is a fickle thing and it's not yet convinced the Aztecs are tourney-worthy. Even though SDSU is 24th in the NET and 27th in the RPI, two of the main measuring tools for just how good a team is, most of the experts have SDSU as anything but a lock for the 68-team field.

CBS Sports has them as a 10 seed opening against Creighton. ESPN slots them as a 9 seed vs. Oklahoma State. USA Today also projects the Aztecs as a 9 seed but going up against Clemson. That means they don't see SDSU as anything more than the 36th-best team in the nation.

Remember, these are all projections and can change. In fact, they very likely will change after this weekend.

San Diego State's next two games are Thursday and Saturday against Boise State at Viejas Arena. The Broncos are in first place in the Mountain West and also projected to be an NCAA Tournament team.

Sweep them and the Aztecs have a couple more quality wins, further solidifying their tournament resume and pretty much guaranteeing a trip to Indiana (where the entire tournament will be played this year). Get swept and the Aztecs might fall so far out of favor that they have to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament and its automatic berth to get in. Split the two and ... who knows?

Predictions are fickle things. The good news is one of the factors the selection committee takes into account is how a team is playing down the stretch. Right now that's a big-time positive for the Aztecs.

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