2014 San Diego State Aztecs Predictions and NCAA Basketball Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 11/3/2014
San Diego State has won 20 or more games in nine consecutive seasons. They have two 30-win seasons in the last four years. They are right in the middle of a school-record five straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Steve Fisher has built a tremendous program at San Diego State. In my opinion, you won't find many better coaches in the nation than Fisher. He does things the right way and gets his kids to play hard from the jump ball to the final whistle. As long as Fisher is on the sidelines, San Diego State will be a contender.
How good of a job has Fisher done at turning things around here? In his first season at the school in the 1999-2000 season, the team went 5-23. Talk about some major progress! San Diego State has won an amazing 41 straight games against opponents from inside the state of California. The Aztecs average the highest home attendance of any program in California as well, which is a testament to how the community is buying into this program.
The Aztecs made a nice run to the Sweet 16 before bowing out against top-seeded Arizona. That's a game where San Diego State led most of the way, but the Wildcats squeaked out a hard-fought 70-64 win. San Diego State's lowest win total in the past five years was a 23 win-season. Can they live up to those lofty expectations again this year?
2014 San Diego State Key Losses & Additions
Xavier Thames is a massive loss. Thames meant everything to this program the last three years, and his senior season last year earned him a Mountain West Player of the Year award. Anyone who watched the Aztecs consistently last year knows he definitely earned it. Thames was the guy who came up with the big play when the team most needed it. He led the team by scoring almost 18 points per game. Josh Davis played only one year with the Aztecs, but he was a key part of last year's team. Davis had nine double-doubles last year, and his length in the post was very helpful on defense and on the glass.
Malik Pope is the most heralded recruit in the history of the San Diego State basketball program. Pope was ranked in the Top 20 in the nation by some recruiting services. The problem with Pope right now is the fact he hasn't played since his junior year of high school because of a broken leg. Fisher is going to take it easy on him early on, but remember this name in the future. Kevin Zabo comes from a good high school program, and he could give the team some depth at point guard. Coach Fisher is excited about Trey Kell's scoring ability, and he'll see the floor right away in the backcourt.
2014 San Diego State Backcourt
The biggest question for the San Diego State team comes at the point guard position. Who will it be starting at point guard? It will likely be either Aqueel Quinn or Winston Shepard. Neither of these guys are truly point guards, but San Diego State is really thin at the point guard spot this year. My guess is Quinn will get the majority of the minutes, because Fisher won't want to wear out Shepard with this job because he is so good on the wing. Shepard will be expected to be the leader of the team this year. Can the Aztecs find anyone who will be a good distributor? Kell should get his shot to play at point guard and shooting guard this year, because there is definitely an opening in the backcourt. The Aztecs have some real issues here.
2014 San Diego State Frontcourt
While the Aztecs are weak in the backcourt, they are stacked in the frontcourt. J.J. O'Brien can play all five positions on the floor, and he's an athletic and smart player who can get the job done on the glass and in the post. Dwayne Polee II is the type of player that Coach Fisher loves. Polee is a 6-foot-7, 195 pound player who has refined his game in the offseason. Fisher said, "Right now I believe he is our best offensive player." He also said he thinks Polee can be the best player in the Mountain West. Skylar Spencer has proven himself on the defensive end. He's a shot blocking machine who will break a ton of records in that category. Now, the coaching staff is asking him to demand the ball more inside and look to score. Angelo Chol is another quality frontcourt player who will be off the bench early.
2014 San Diego State Futures Odds
The oddsmakers respect the Aztecs, but they know they have weaknesses as well. San Diego State is listed at +6,300 to win the NCAA Basketball Championship, according to odds from Bovada. BetOnline has listed the Aztecs at +5,000 to win it all.
2014 San Diego State Aztecs Predictions & NCAA Basketball Picks
San Diego State has a guy who can coach as well as anyone, but I don't think this will be their best year. In a couple years when these highly-touted recruits are in full swing, the Aztecs might be a Top 10 team. San Diego State is going to play hard, and they'll likely cover the spread more often than not, but they aren't likely to make a deep run in March without a true point guard.
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