Fresh off a national title game appearance, the San Diego State men’s basketball team will shortly begin one of their most highly anticipated seasons in quite some time.
Last year’s astonishing tournament run, where the Aztecs defeated the overall No. 1 seed Alabama, proved SDSU can defeat anyone who steps in their way. Even though they fell one game short of the ultimate prize, the Aztecs proved they deserve to be recognized as one of the premier programs in the nation.
Aztec fans are excited for the 2023-24 campaign to start. Most wish they could fast-forward right to March Madness to see their team make another championship run. However, patience must be had for the long road ahead.
The regular season journey starts November 6 against Cal State Fullerton and ends March 8 at home against Boise State.
The 2023-24 schedule seems favorable for San Diego State. They play a majority of their away games early to midway through the season while ending the campaign playing four of the final seven games at home.
If the season goes as anticipated, SDSU hoops will be fighting for another high seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Those home games will be beneficial preparation for the postseason.
Below, the Aztecs’ schedule is ranked with a short analysis of each opponent.
Tier 1 – Gonzaga, Saint Marys, Xavier, Nevada
Gonzaga 2022-23 record: (31-6)
I think everyone can agree with the fact that Gonzaga will be the Aztecs’ top opponent this season. The Bulldogs are one of the premier college basketball teams in the country year and year out. Gonzaga lost to the UConn in the Elite Eight in this past NCAA Tournament as the Huskies went on to then beat Miami in the Final Four, followed by SDSU in the Championship.
Did you know SDSU (14) trails only Gonzaga (18) for the most Division 1 appearances in a conference championship game since 2006.
Saint Mary’s 2022-23 record: (27-8)
The Gaels will likely be ranked to begin the 2023-24 campaign. They are an elite team who advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. They are coming off back-to-back second-round appearances for the first time in program history. The Aztecs will face the Gaels for the first matchup of the Continental Tires Main Event Tournament on November 17.
Gaels’ star Aidan Mahaney was one of just four freshmen in the nation to average over 13 points per game and shoot 40% or better from beyond the arc. He torched the Aztecs for 20 points in Saint Mary’s 68-61 victory over SDSU last season.
Did you know: Just like SDSU, Saint Mary’s was also a 5-seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament. They also fell to UConn 70-55 in the Round of 32.
Xavier 2022-23 record: (27-10)
Xavier is a potential matchup in the Continental Tires Main Event Tournament. SDSU will face Saint Mary’s first and could face Xavier, depending on the result. There are just four teams, so the Aztecs will face either Washington or the Musketeers. Xavier was a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament last year and fell to Texas in the Sweet Sixteen.
The Musketeers were 16th in offensive efficiency in 2022-23, producing 1.09 points per possession. They were also fifth in the country in field goal percentage at 49.2%.
Did you know: Xavier head coach Sean Miller coached the Musketeers from 2004-09 and returned last season after 12 seasons at the University of Arizona.
Tip times and broadcast details have been revealed for November’s matchups at the Continental Tires Main Event in Las Vegas and in opener we’re playing Saint Mary’s at 6:30 p.m. PT on the 17th on ESPN+. #GoAztecs pic.twitter.com/jarJLz3fyx
— San Diego State Men’s Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) August 23, 2023
Nevada 2022-23 record: (22-11)
Jarod Lucas led the team with 17 points and was second-team all-league last season. Kenan Blackshear also returns to the team as the standout point guard, averaged 14.1 points, 4.6 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game as an all-league player. Furthermore, top 150 prospect Jazz Gardner is someone to look out for, as the 7-foot center has a high ceiling. The Wolfpack lost to Arizona State 98-73 in the First Four out last year.
Did you know Jarod Lucas scored 26 points in the win over SDSU last season. It was Nevada’s seventh win in 27 tries against the Aztecs.
Tier 2 – Boise State, BYU, New Mexico, Utah State
Boise State 2022-23 record: (24-10)
Boise State went undefeated at home last season. Max Rice averaged 14 points per game last year and returns to the team as a 5th-year player. Boise State lost to Northwestern 75-67 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Rice finished with 17 points in that game.
Did you know: Boise State has three conference championships. The Broncos also swept SDSU in all three matchups in 2021-22.
BYU 2022-23 record: (19-15)
BYU will participate in the Big 12 conference for the very first time. The Cougars have played in multiple conferences over the years but will embark on a new adventure playing some of the top teams in the country. If BYU wants a chance to compete in this tough conference, the new additions (Aly Khalifa & Dawson Baker) to the team must step up.
Did you know: BYU is tied with SDSU and Belmont for the 3rd longest active 19-win seasons, entering 2023-24 with 18.
New Mexico 2022-23 record: (22-13)
The Lobos started last season very hot and were the last Division 1 team to lose a game during the regular season. UNM beat SDSU at home in San Diego last year, but the Aztecs took down the Lobos on the road as Lamont Butler nailed in a game-winner. Does that sound familiar?
— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) February 26, 2023
Did you know New Mexico is second behind SDSU (14) with eight Mountain West Championships.
Utah State 2022-23 record: (26-9)
Danny Sprinkle takes over as head coach of the Aggies after leading the Montana State Bobcats to two consecutive NCAA Tournaments. Utah State won’t be the powerhouse they were last season as they lost most of their starters from a year ago. This team will look very different and it will be a shock if they return to the form they were in last year. SDSU defeated the Aggies 62-57 in last year’s Mountain West Championship game.
Did you know: SDSU has the 7th-highest win streak in program history all-time against Utah State with 10 wins (2014-18)
Tier 3 – UC Irvine, UNLV, Washington, San Jose State
UC Irvine 2022-23 record: (23-12)
SDSU and UC Irvine played each other last season as the Aztecs barely won by the score of 72-69. The Anteaters took down No. 21 Oregon during the regular season, which was the first time they beat a ranked opponent since 2005 when they defeated No. 15 Stanford. The Anteaters lost Dawson Baker to BYU in the transfer portal.
Guard Dylan Thoerner returns to his hometown as a Graduate transfer. He averaged 15.5 points for Tufts University last year.
Did you know: The Aztecs lead the all-time series (11-7)
UNLV 2022-23 record: (19-13)
Dedan Thomas joins the Rebels after averaging 22.8 points and 5.8 assists per game last year for Liberty. Thomas is a former Nevada Gatorade National Player of the Year and will be the best player on this young Rebels’ roster. UNLV has one of the better teams they have had in quite some time and may make some noise in the MW this year.
Did you know UNLV defeated SDSU 90-80 in the Aztecs’ first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
Washington 2022-23 record: (16-16)
SDSU may face Washington depending on the result of the Continental Tires Main Event. The Huskies will have Keion Brooks Jr. return to the team who was their leading scorer a season ago. Last year was a disappointment for the Huskies, but they have the talent to bounce back in a big way. Shavir Wheeler transferred in from Kentucky as Brooks Jr.’s former teammate.
Did you know: On December 7, 2014, Washington defeated SDSU 49-36 in the fourth-lowest total score in program history since 1971.
San Jose State 2022-23 record: (21-14)
SDSU took down SJSU in both of their matchups last season. Omari Moore averaged 17.4 points per game last year for the Spartans. He is now in the NBA, and that scoring will be a big loss for them. Alvaro Cardnenas returns to the team as the team’s highest scorer from last year (10.0). SJSU came a long way since 2021-22, when they won just one MW game.
Did you know SDSU lost their very first overtime game back in 1972 against SJSU 65-63.
Tier 4 – Grand Canyon, Cal State Fullerton, Stanford, Air Force, Colorado State
Grand Canyon 2022-23 record: (24-12)
Grand Canyon played very well last season. They earned their way to their very first NCAA Tournament but lost to Gonzaga in the first round 82-70. They put up a fight and could surprise more teams this season. GCU won the WAC Championship Game against Southern Utah.
Did you know: In 2016, Jeremy Hemsley drained seven threes against GCU, which is the second most in a game in SDSU history. GCU won that game 76-72.
Cal State Fullerton 2022-23 record: (20-13)
The Titans lost their top scorer from a season ago as Latrell Wrightsell Jr. transferred to Alabama. However, Max Jones returns to the program after averaging 12.5 points per game. Jalen Harris also returns. He averaged 12.4 per game. The Titans have a dynamic scoring duo in the backcourt.
Did you know: Kawhi Leonard snagged 18 rebounds against Fullerton in 2009 for the fourth most in a game since 1999-2000.
Stanford 2022-23 record: (14-19)
Stanford had a sub-par season last year. They didn’t play in a postseason tournament and lost to Arizona in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. However, the team brought in two four-star recruits (Kanaan Carlyle and Andrej Stojaković) to help boost the scoring. They also brought in Graduate transfer Jared Bynum, who comes in from Providence.
Did you know: The Aztecs lost all four previous meetings to the Cardinal before beating them last season.
Air Force 2022-23 record: (14-18)
The Falcons finished 5-13 in Mountain West play last year. Air Force returns four starters in Ethan Taylor, Jeffrey Mills, Beau Becker, and Rytis Petraitis. It’s going to be an uphill climb for the Falcons, but they have a chance to defeat most conference teams this year.
Did you know: Jordan Schakel attempted 13 three-pointers against Air Force back in 2021 for the 3rd most attempted in a single game in SDSU history.
Colorado State 2022-23 record: (15-18)
The Rams lost to Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament two seasons ago. Last year, they were unable to make a postseason appearance after failing to win many MW games.
Did you know Kim Goetz scored the 3rd most points in a single game in SDSU history with 42 against CSU back in 1979.
Tier 5 – Wyoming, Fresno State, California, UC San Diego, St. Katherine College
Wyoming 2022-23 record: (9-22)
Wyoming was the worst team in the Mountain West last year. They lost to New Mexico in the first round of the MW Tournament. The Cowboys finished with just four conference wins. They added five transfers in the offseason to help rebuild the program.
Did you know Brandon Heath attempted the most shots in SDSU history with 27 against Wyoming back in 2006.
Practice makes perfect pic.twitter.com/k3YGTSFHg7
— Carson Cook – carsoncook.talks (@CookTalksalot) October 7, 2023
Fresno State 2022-23 record: (11-20)
Fresno State finished 9th in the Mountain West last year after winning just six conference games. The Bulldogs haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2016, when they lost to Utah. Their last March Madness win was back in 2001 against Cal.
Did you know SDSU scored 106 points against Fresno State back in 1971. They also scored 103 against them in 1976.
California 2022-23 record: (3-29)
Cal was one of the worst teams in all of NCAA basketball a season ago. Winning just three games won’t cut it in the Pac-12 … or whatever you want to call it nowadays. Mark Madsen took over as head coach. He was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves from 2000-09. The newcomers must step up for the Golden Bears.
Did you know SDSU leads the all-time series (7-6) against the Golden Bears.
UC San Diego 2022-23 record: (10-20)
The Aztecs should have zero trouble taking down their crosstown opponent. In 2020, UCSD transitioned to Division I. The NCAA mandates that teams making the jump to a new division serve a four-year reclassification period—the Tritons exit purgatory in July.
Did you know SDSU has defeated UC San Diego 12 straight times, dating back to 1969. In 2001, the Aztecs crushed UCSD by 45 points.
St. Katherine College 2022-23 record: (20-8)
This should be an easy victory for the Aztecs. SDSU head coach Brian Dutcher frequently schedules local programs. St. Katherine is located in San Marcos.
Did you know +83 (118-35) vs. St. Katherine College back in 2013 is the highest win total in a single game in Viejas Arena history. SDSU stole the ball 17 times for a Viejas Arena record in that same game.
Chris is a graduate of the University of San Diego. He is the former Sports Editor for the USDVista newspaper. Chris is also an athlete and is huge fan of San Diego sports. Chris has covered the San Diego Loyal, and contributes regularly about the Padres.