In the wake of the Air Force loss 11 days ago, I cast a textbook reverse jinx on the Aztecs with this panicky post proclaiming the team in grave danger of falling back onto the bubble.
You’re welcome for that, by the way. Worked like a charm, right?
Welp, after tonight’s double-digit road trouncing of Boise State, I’ve got a different proclamation to make — one that I think is honest-to-gosh jinx-proof*. No matter what happens over the next two-plus games, the Aztecs have punched their ticket to the Big Dance (Dance, Dance, Dance-Dance, Dance-Dance).
With the win and tonight’s awesomely typical UNLV road collapse at Colorado State, the Aztecs have clinched at least a share of second place in the nation’s fifth-ranked league. They have 23 wins, including road triumphs against New Mexico and Arizona, and home victories against Cal, Long Beach State, UNLV, and Colorado State. Their only truly bad loss (Air Force) came with their best player sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Frankly, that’s enough. That’s a tournament-worthy resume, folks. All that’s left to care about now is improving seeding and securing delicious, delicious banners.
And maintaining momentum, I suppose. If the Aztecs continue to play the way they played tonight, they might just do some damage once they get to March Madness.
Only a few weeks after a near disaster against the Broncos at Viejas, SDSU showed the kind of swagger it hasn’t had all month. The Aztecs were patient on the offensive end and defended the perimeter with vigor (though the way the Broncos were shooting, the defensive intensity probably didn’t matter that much). They were coolly methodical, save for a brief slew of turnovers early in the second half.
Meanwhile, Jamaal Franklin’s development into a complete, intelligent player continues unabated. Coming off a career game against the Rams, he had 18 points and 13 boards to lead the way again. And for the second game in a row, he executed a swoop-and-squat on a hapless defender — a move that may have even been cooler than his filthy follow-up dunk that ushered in garbage time.
I’m also starting to realize what a fool I’ve been for not writing anything about his free-throw shooting until now. Jamaal has become so automatic that seeing him at the line makes me feel as warm and secure as Dave Rice swaddled in a fuzzy blanket.
The only big concern at the moment is the continued wonkiness of Chase Tapley’s outside shot. But if he gets going? Look out.
But that’s just one minor quibble. Great win, nonetheless.
Speaking of which, do you think Kevan at One Bronco Nation Under God will agree to a blog bet retroactively? I’ve got a Senate endorsement of Craig James that I’m just itching to post over there.
* Yes, I do realize I’ve just set us all up for an epic disaster. Tell you what, if they somehow get left out of the NCAA Tournament now, I owe you a Coke.