San Diego State

Location: San Diego, CA

Conference: Mountain West

Mascot: Aztecs

Coach: Steve Fisher

Record: 26-8 (14-4 Mountain West)

Kenpom ranking: 27

Good wins (Kenpom ranking): BYU (30)

Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): Fresno State (193), Washington (122)

Tournament appearances: 11

Best result: Sweet 16 (2011, 2014)

NBA alumni: Kawhi Leonard, Michael Cage

Best name: Parker U'u

Famous alumni: Tony Gwynn, Julie Kavner, Gregory Peck

Steve Fisher has made the Aztecs into a quiet Mountain West powerhouse, churning out conference titles and NBA players at a school that hadn't had success in decades. He looks maybe two days older than he did coaching the Michigan squads of the early-90s, but none of the flash and glitz and scandal followed him to SDSU -- just lots of wins and lockdown defense.

Style of play: No fun in the sun

The Aztecs are downright mediocre offensively, but their defense is airtight. No team in college hoops forces longer opposing possessions -- it takes the opposition an average of 20.8 seconds to get a shot up, slowest out of 351 teams -- and SDSU boasts the fourth-most efficient D in the country. Credit a lot of length and good shot-blocking.

Key player: Skyswatter

Skylar Spencer probably averages fewer points than any "key player" we picked for any of the 68 teams -- just 3.6 per game! --  but the 6'10 junior swats 12.9 percent of opposing shots while he's on the court. The Aztecs don't have much of an offensive identity, but their eraser sets their defensive tone. He does go all-out for blocks, though, so the offensive glass is open.


If you watch college hoops, you're probably familiar with the whimsical tradition of fans waving large, distracting cut-out pictures of celebrities behind baskets. The now-nationwide concept originated at SDSU in "The Show," the Aztecs' student section. In 2002, a student inspired by the movie BASEketball printed out a giant picture of Michael Jackson, and the rest is history.