San Diego State Men's Basketball 2012 NCAA Tournament Capsule

San Diego State Aztecs
Mountain West (26-7, 10-4)

Coach Steve Fisher has had some amazing years, but this has been one of his best coaching jobs of his career. San Diego State lost a lot of talent from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad, but Coach Fisher had some roleplayers who were ready to step up and some newcomers who fit right into the system. The result has been another superb season for the Aztecs and another notch on Coach Fisher’s tournament belt.

Big Wins: 11/23 at Arizona (61-57), 1/14 UNLV (69-67), 2/25 Colorado State (74-66)
Bad Losses: 1/28 at Colorado State (60-77), 2/15 New Mexico (67-77), 2/18 at Air Force (56-58)
Coach: Steve Fisher (13 seasons at San Diego State)

Why They Can Surprise:
The backcourt has four great scorers who do a lot more than score for the Aztecs. Point guard Xavier Thames spent one year at Washington State before earning the starting job for SDSU. Thames does a great job finding his teammates, but he can also attack the basket and do some damage himself. Thames is not much of an outside shooter, but he can knock down the long ball enough to at least keep the opposition honest. James Rahon was a shooter off of the bench last season, but he has developed his game and become a more dynamic scorer. Speaking of becoming a more dynamic scorer, Chase Tapley will still knock down a ton of three-pointers, but he has taken on a leadership role and will find other ways to score. The most pleasant surprise is the maturation of the ultra-athletic Jamaal Franklin. Franklin, a 6-5 sophomore, was relegated to the bench last season where he occasionally came in for defensive purposes. He will still play solid defense, but now he can score in bunches from anywhere on the floor.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The frontcourt has bodies, but really lacks any game changers. However, Rahon, Tapley and Franklin are all 6-5 and their size makes it possible for Coach Fisher to start a four guard lineup. And it is Franklin who leads this team in rebounds. That says a lot about Franklin, but it says more about the rotating forwards that San Diego State employs. Garrett Green is the best overall scorer in the frontcourt and, at 6-11, is easily the tallest option. Tim Shelton is the most experienced and balanced frontcourt player, but he will not do much scoring. Deshawn Stephens was expected to step into a starting role, but he has not lived up to those expectations. However, he is a good athlete who can hit the glass, especially on the offensive end. But the lack of experience and scoring in the frontcourt will have a lot to do with San Diego State exiting the tournament.

Probable Starters:
Xavier Thames, Sophomore, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 4.2 apg
Chase Tapley, Junior, Guard, 15.7 ppg, 2.2 apg, 4.2 rpg
James Rahon, Junior, Guard, 8.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Jamaal Franklin, Sophomore, Guard, 17.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg
Tim Shelton, Senior, Forward, 5.3 ppg, 1.6 apg, 4.7 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
LaBradford Franklin, Sophomore, Guard, 2.9 ppg, 1.7 apg
Garrett Green, Senior, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Deshawn Stephens, Junior, Forward, 5.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.6 (90th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.9 (70, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (80, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.8 (30, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (220, 8)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.1 (214, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.0 (134, 3)
Rebound Margin: 5.1 (34, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (203, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (103, 4)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
San Diego State    2011    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Northern Colorado
San Diego State    2011    NCAA        Round of 32 win over Temple
San Diego State    2011    NCAA        Regional Semifinal loss to Connecticut
San Diego State    2010    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Tennessee
San Diego State    2009    NIT           First Round win over Weber State
San Diego State    2009    NIT           Second Round win over Kansas State
San Diego State    2009    NIT           Quarterfinal win over St. Mary's
San Diego State    2009    NIT           Semifinal loss to Baylor
San Diego State    2008    NIT           First Round loss to Florida
San Diego State    2007    NIT           First Round Win over Missouri State
San Diego State    2007    NIT           Second Round loss to Syracuse

*all team stats through 3/4

See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules