It’s not a fluke that the San Diego State Aztecs have been one of the most impressive teams in Division 1 basketball today. With all of the hype that’s been around teams like Arizona, Gonzaga, Duke, etc., the one team that has been quietly under the Radar has definitely been San Diego State. Although they may be a small school, that takes nothing away from the fact that they have a phenomenal basketball team who has shown they can play hard on a nightly basis.
Since Head Coach Brian Dutcher has been with the school for 21 years, the man has seen this team come from the bottom all the way to where they are now. Since he has taking the head coaching job in 2017, the Aztecs have taken a big leap over the past couple seasons and there’s no question why they have been so dominant this season.
Looking at the way the Aztecs play this season, you can tell that there is much chemistry added to this team compared to other seasons. They communicate on both ends of the floor and are not afraid to make the extra pass to get a good shot. Due to their efficient play, the Aztecs shoot a high percentage from the field and continue to play hard on the defensive end at the important stretches of the game.
The team as a collective averages 75 points per game while shooting 47% from the field through the first 20 games. So far they have been very efficient on the offensive end and the results easily show in the statistics. It has started from the practices that this team has as each session is intense and physical through the entire practice. Coach Dutcher preaches to this team everyday to have a winning mentality I everytime these young men step out on the floor and the results have proven themselves to be the reason this team is undefeated so far.
Malachi Flynn has been the X factor for this squad averaging 16.5 points and 5 assist this season. Flynn is the one who gets this team going on the floor putting everyone in the right position to be successful in each possession. With Flynn being a threat to score the ball forces defenses to keep an eye on him whenever he makes a play for himself; which will likely create an opportunity for his teammates to be open anywhere on the court. Flynn’s teammates rave about his competitive play and he is the huge reason for San Diego’s undefeated start.
The Aztecs also get great production from guys as in Senior big man Yanni Wetzell, who has been their leading rebounder for the team this season along with shooting a terrific 60% from the field. Other key contributors for this team has been Junior Forward Matt Mitchell, Senior Guard KJ Feagin, and Junior combo Matt Mitchell as well. Everyone plays their role correctly, whether it’s dominating the boards or sacrificing their body to take a charge, the Aztecs have shown that they play for each other and the brotherhood has made a huge impact on the floor.
The most impressive thing for the Aztecs this season is that Coach Dutcher has helped this team learn to finish games strongly this season. With tough matchups against teams as in BYU and Utah State where they had a good matchup in front of them, the guys would gracefully weather each storm and have strong 2nd Half’s to secure a victory against solid teams. Outside of that, the Aztecs have been able to get off to hot starts to start games and continue to keep their foot on their opponents neck obliterating their opponents in a blowout victory. Although they’ve been faced with some adversity through the first 20 games of the season, these players have shown that they are capable of weathering a storm at the end of the day.
As the season goes on, the competition will only get tougher for San Diego State as the NCAA Tournament arrives soon. They will continue to have teams in the Mountain West who want to dethrone them from the first spot in the conference and show that they are beatable at the end of the day. But the only thing is that the Aztecs will continue to improve through the rest of the season and the world will see what they’re made of once March Madness begins and their competitive play will really be put to the test. Coach Dutcher will continue to preach greatness to this team and keep them on the right path to success.