San Diego State is the only undefeated team in the nation. They're 14-point favorites to beat Air Force on the road on Saturday. But since they're playing a service academy, head coach Brian Dutcher does not want to hear about any of that.
"They're as hard a working group as there is in the country," said Dutcher. "We have great respect for them and what they do and how they prepare not only for their careers but also for how they prepare to play basketball."
Colorado Springs is more than 6,000 feet above sea level and that never makes for an easy trip. At 9-13 the Falcons aren't going to any post-season tournaments so their best chance at a signature moment will be a shot at beating SDSU, a team that is at this point just about guaranteed a dance in March. But again, coach Dutcher doesn't want to hear about any of that.
"I don't look at the NCAA Tournament at all. I can't help myself," said Dutcher. "I tell these guys we want to hang a banner. We want to win the Mountain West."
Doing that will put them into the NCAA Tournament anyway so no need to add extra pressure thinking about other things.
"That's how I am. I don't know how the guys are. They'd better be wired like me," said Dutcher, who immediately looked at junior forward Matt Mitchell.
"Basically," said Mitchell chuckling. "But beyond that, of course you think about (the NCAA Tournament). It's something you want to achieve. It's a goal. But at the same time, as a team, we talk about not getting ahead of ourselves and not losing our focus and our focus is winning the Mountain West title."
They're six games away from not just doing that, but completing the first undefeated season in Conference history, and San Diego has taken notice.
"The environment is crazy," said Mitchell. "People just constantly want to talk to you and tell you you're doing a good job. It's kind of fun to just live in this moment and be able to experience that and have a full city behind you."
San Diego … and San Diego State … believe that they can win.