It's oh so fitting that the Aztecs are going to Las Vegas looking to land on 21.
The 4th-ranked San Diego State's men's basketball team takes its 20-0 record to UNLV for a 1:00 pm tipoff on Sunday. The Aztecs are the only unbeaten team in the country, just nine wins away from a perfect regular season.
In one of the great ironies of sports, the better a team plays the harder it is to win. With each victory the pressure to go unbeaten gets just a little greater.
"It has gotten tougher as we've gone along," said SDSU assistant coach David Velasquez. "We're getting the other team's best punch. We know that. But to be honest I feel like we're getting better. We know we have a big target on our back being 20-0 and everyone wants to break our streak."
The last time a team was undefeated as it entered the NCAA Tournament was 2014, when both Wichita State and Kentucky did it. Neither of them won the national title. The last undefeated national champ was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, so the Aztecs are trying to keep in mind an undefeated season is great and they should enjoy it as long as they can.
"We're just level-headed right now," said Aztecs junior guard Matt Mitchell. "Not too high, not too low. We're happy to be undefeated, no doubt about that, but we're still plugging away."
The Runnin' Rebels are 2nd in the Mountain West Conference with a 6-2 record (SDSU is 9-0 in MWC play). But overall UNLV is just 11-10 with ugly home losses to BYU and Pacific. Add that to the fact the Aztecs have won 15 of the last 16 meetings between the schools and 21-0 is a pretty good bet.
However, as great as an undefeated regular season would be the Aztecs have an even bigger goal in mind: hanging a Final Four banner.