The date: January 24th, 2011. Bruno Mars’ Grenade was Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, then-President Barack Obama’s Third State of the Union Address was scheduled for the following day, and Cam Newton’s Auburn Tigers had defeated the Oregon Ducks just two weeks prior in Chip Kelly’s final game at Oregon before being hired by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Most importantly, the last time the San Diego State Aztecs would be ranked among the top four college basketball teams in the nation. That is, until Monday, January 20th, 2020, nearly nine years to the day since Kawhi Leonard’s Aztecs touched history when Malachi Flynn’s Aztecs did the same.
? NEW AP POLL ?
Baylor is the new No. 1! ?
4. San Diego State
5. Florida State
10. Seton Hall
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 20, 2020
As of 9:19 AM, SDSU officially cracked the top five of the AP Poll following a wild week of collegiate basketball which saw 3rd ranked Duke, 4th ranked Auburn, and 5th ranked Butler all fall twice, allowing Kansas, SDSU, and Florida State to jump the herd and fill the aforementioned 3rd-5th teams’ places.
The comparisons being drawn between the 2010-11 Aztecs and the 2019-20 Aztecs are certainly warranted, as both teams featured the pieces needed for a competitive basketball team in the NCAA. The dominant scoring big man role filled by Kawhi Leonard in 2011 is served by Yanni Wetzell. D.J. Gay’s eliteness as a guard is being matched and surpassed by Malachi Flynn, and that ever-necessary spot-up three-point shooting the 2011 SDSU team received from James Rahon is found in Jordan Schakel.
A Look Ahead
San Diego State has a few chances to move up into the top three in the coming week, provided they win their home game against Wyoming on Tuesday and take care of business against UNLV in the Thomas and Mack Center on Sunday.
The first opportunity will come later on the same day they moved up to 4th, as 1st-ranked Baylor takes on an Oklahoma squad hungry for a resume win.
The second comes on Saturday at 1:00 PM, as Kansas hosts a competitive and gutsy Tennessee team who has nothing to lose and everything to gain after dropping out of the AP Top 25 weeks ago.
The third and final opportunity will come later that Saturday when Baylor visits the swamp, traveling into Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators.
Only time will tell how far this San Diego State team can go, but they have already cemented themselves among the great SDSU teams of all-time.