The Mountain West Conference Tournament is tipping off in Las Vegas, and the fifth-ranked SDSU Aztecs sit on top of the tournament table.
San Diego State must win three games in three days to claim the crown and win their conference tournament. On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the Aztecs take on Air Force.
Due to San Diego State’s perfect record against non-conference opponents, the Aztecs are almost guaranteed to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The rest of the Mountain West’s hope for a national tournament berth hinges on their odds of outlasting the favored San Diego’s State and winning the single-elimination tournament. The Aztecs hold the nation’s best record at 28-1 and remain in the hunt for a No 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Last weekend, San Diego State went on the road and overcame a 13-point deficit to come back and beat Nevada on the Wolf Pack’s senior night. SDSU struggled in the beginning, but came out in the second half and proved to the sold-out Lawlor Events Center in Reno why they were the undisputed conference champs. Nevada’s Jalen Harris put up 24 points against the Aztecs, but Malachi Flynn eclipsed Harris’s effort with a career-high 36 points. With a little over seven minutes left in the game, a hobbled KJ Feagin put the Aztecs on top 68-66 with a three-pointer to take the lead for good. With their fourteenth-straight win away from Viejas Arena, San Diego State triumphed over Nevada 83-76. The Aztecs’ 17-1 regular-season conference record is the best in the history of Mountain West Conference.
Malachi Flynn who recently-awarded Player of the Year in the Mountain West, spoke to the media at the post-game press conference about what Saturday’s win means to him and his team, “Yeah, it’s good to look back and realize we only lost once but to be honest, it means nothing now. We’ve got the conference tournament and then March Madness, so this means nothing. We’ve got to put it behind us and look forward to what’s next,” Flynn. said.
KJ Feagin, who earned a Mountain West Conference honorable mention, explained to the media how earning the comeback win impacts the Aztecs’ mindset, “You always want to end you’re season on a high note. So if we wouldn’t have won, I think that this week would have been very tough. We would have had that sour taste in our mouth. So it’s good to have a gut check and come back and win. Now we feel good going into the tournament, knowing that we’ve seen everybody’s best shot. And now it’s time for everybody to get our even better shot. So, it’s time to take the game to everybody else,” Feagin said.
After losing in the tournament’s championship game to Utah State in 2019, the first-seeded SDSU Aztecs head to Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, looking for revenge.
Ninth-seeded Air Force comes into the conference tournament after recently losing to Colorado State 74-87. Preseason-Conference favorites Utah State is the tournament’s second seed and awaits the result of the match-up between San Jose State and New Mexico on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.
If the Aztecs win on Thursday, they will play the winner of Boise State and UNLV in the semi-final on Friday. The Mountain West Tournament Championship game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday on CBS.