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Arizona’s Dominance of SDSU

August 23rd, 2014 News 5 Comments

Martin Hayvush

Let me first say that if you’re a San Diego State fan, you aren’t going to like this. But it’s the truth, and, well, Jack can say it better than I ever could.

In recent years the Aztecs have put together great teams, full of underrated prospects that combined to be more than the sum of their parts. In a way, they represent the opposite of what the top college programs have become in this era of the game. Instead of recruiting hordes of five star talent, SDSU has succeeded by virtue of coaching up players and recruiting the right fits.

But unfortunately (for them), San Diego State has run into a buzzsaw named Arizona during the Sean Miller era, resulting in some crushing losses including the end to last year’s 31-5 campaign.

If you want a small taste of what that bitterness must be like, relive this moment and pretend like you’re on the other side of that Nick Johnson Christmas card.

But that was just the Diamond Head Classic, a Hawaii based tournament that pitted the two teams against each other on a December 25th final. If you want a real taste of what the SDSU bitterness towards Arizona feels like, look no further than their last game.

In an obviously much more important Sweet 16 matchup, things were looking good for San Diego State. Dwayne Polee II was sinking threes, which had the Aztec fans praising the heavens:

But the Wildcats would go on to outscore SDSU by 10 in the second half. And Aaron Gordon would go on to do this:

That moment, though early in the second half, encapsulated the relationship between Arizona and SDSU. Bigger, faster, stronger, better. Here’s another look:

The rest is history. One of San Diego State’s best seasons ever was ended by a superior Arizona team. An Arizona team that didn’t even have Brandon Ashley, like they did when they went into the Viejas Center and won on the Aztecs’ home court.

It seems like no matter what SDSU does, no matter how brilliantly they play, Arizona is always the end of the road.

That’s why I feel bad for them. It’s a program that hearkens back to a more idealistic time in college basketball and still succeeds, which is awesome. They win and achieve national relevance without bringing in monster recruiting classes every year like the big boys do.

But ultimately, the disturbing truth is that this approach is antiquated and can’t be the basis for a yearly national championship contender in today’s college basketball landscape. As fun as it is to watch a team like that, you can thank John Calipari’s Kentucky model of recruiting for making it a dying breed.

Until San Diego State can recruit the country’s most elite talent, they will never compete on the same yearly level as Arizona and the nation’s other top tier teams.

And the Wildcats will continue to dominate the Aztecs.

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5 Responses to “Arizona’s Dominance of SDSU”

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  1. Jeff

    August 23, 2014

    I don’t feel bad for SDSU. Every loss SDSU incurs makes the world a better place.

  2. mvpreed2

    August 23, 2014

    Wize will one of the first to tell you how much he hates SDSU fans as well as a few other West programs including UNLV.
    I don’t feel sorry for any West program because when we were down I had to hear all the jokes and take shots from every one else.
    Now that we are on top I hope we steamroll EVERYBODY out West.

  3. titan4wildcats

    August 24, 2014

    Those were some great plays in some great games. Having said that, I don’t in any way feel sorry for SDSU. I’ve never seen any evidence that ANY of their fans feel bad for a Wildcat loss. The goal of this game is to win. When the Wildcats win it’s great. When they lose it’s devastating. We have to deal with both sides of the issue as Wildcats fans. So does every other fan base and the teams they root for.

    From what I’ve read from Wildcat fans who’ve attended the SDSU vs. UofA games, SDSU’s fans are extremely bad and I’ve no sympathy for them. I hope the Wildcats continue to dominate them for as long as there are games between the two teams…

  4. Wayne

    August 30, 2014

    San Diego reminds me of what Arizona was during mid 70’s of the Snowden era. We had some very good teams, but no matter what, you had to end up playing UCLA to advance. And just like this article said about Zona compared to San Diego, UCLA had bigger and faster players back then compared to Arizona. Now, it’s San Diego who needs to go through Arizona to advance.

  5. steve green

    August 30, 2014

    SCREW SDSU AND THEIR FANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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