You play to win the game, right?
Well, following the San Diego State basketball teams 66-63 loss to UNLV on Saturday, the Aztecs first loss of the season, there's some backwards basketball thinking being bandied about.
After 26 straight wins. the line of thinking is that San Diego State's loss might actually be a good thing?
One theory being floated around is that the loss removes the pressure of perfection, the pressure of an undefeated season, the Aztecs aren't buying that.
"Obviously we wanted to finish undefeated, but I didn't ever feel like it was pressure. At that point, when you have that kind of record going you're just rolling with confidence, you're not rolling with pressure," said Aztecs head coach Brian Dutcher.
The Aztecs also aren't buying that the loss will lead to a poorer seeding in the NCAA Tournament but a more favorable NCAA tournament region, think West region versus East region, with 5 potential games still to play it's way to early for that talk.
"If we win them all, then we're going to slide up, if we drop another one or two, then we're going to slide down, and that's no different than what Louisville faces or Baylor or Kansas, if you lose a game you're going to slide up or down in someone's opinion," said Dutcher.
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Where you can get some traction with the Aztecs is that it's better to lose now than during the tournament.
"I'm just glad that it happened Saturday rather than the first game in March or the first game of the conference tournament. I don't want to lose ever, but if I had to chose a time to lose, then Saturday would be the perfect time," said senior guard K.J. Feagin.
Aztecs senior forward Yanni Wetzel echoed his teammates sentiments, "It's obviously frustrating that we take a loss, but it's better now than in a knockout tournament."
The players admit the loss shows them they are not invincible, and motivates them to bounce back with some serious Montezuma Mesa mojo.
"I think this is when our swagger shows the most, is after you've been beaten up and bruised, your armor has been chinked a little, you show how real you are as a hooper and you show how real you are as a team, so I think that we are excited to show what we are really about now that we've taken one little lump to get back on our hump and just show that we are as good as advertised," said Feagin.
Strong words from a strong team, but the ultimate answer to was the loss a good thing, will come on the court in March when the NCAA Tournament tips off.