San Diego State University

Aztecs Battling Zags to Stay West in NCAA Tournament

Both teams are good enough to land a No. 1 seed, but only one can do so in the West Region.

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If the NCAA Tournament began today, San Diego State would be a No. 1 seed. The problem for the Aztecs is, Gonzaga would be as well.

Right now both are ranked in the top four and are on track to be the top seed in a region during the big dance. Only one of the programs can do so in the West Region.

In all likelihood SDSU will begin its NCAA Tournament journey in Sacramento. However, their Sweet 16 destination is what is yet to be determined. If SDSU gets the top seed in the West Region and advances to the Sweet 16, they'd play at Staples Center in Los Angeles. If Gonzaga gets the No. 1 seed and the NCAA Tournament Committee deems the Aztecs good enough to be on the one line, they'd likely end up as the No. 1 in the East. That would send them to New York City.

The other Regionals will take place in Houston (South) and Indianapolis (Midwest). As of now those would be taken up by Baylor and Kansas.

Dan Gavitt of the NCAA said on a recent visit to San Diego State that they wouldn't move someone down a seed just to keep them close to home. That means two teams from the west would be on the one line, and one would be faced with a long trip if they advanced past the first weekend.

On the other hand, if San Diego State were to slip up between now and the Mountain West Conference Tournament and slip to a No. 2 seed - they'd likely end up in the West.

Brian Dutcher was pretty clear on Wednesday when asked what his preference is between a high seed and an easy trip for the team and their fans.

"I want to stay West and play our way to the Staples Center somehow and see if we can't fill that building with Aztec fans."

A quick glance of bracket projections shows a split opinion on whether Gonzaga or San Diego State deserves to stay in the West. Four out of six brackets we saw had the Aztecs' path taking them through Los Angeles, including ESPN's Joe Lunardi. Lunardi swapped Gonzaga for SDSU in last week's bracketology - the first appearance for SDSU on the one line in the West in his projections.

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