San Diego State Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

San Diego State Aztecs
Mountain West (29-4, 16-2)


We should all know better than to doubt Coach Steve Fisher and San Diego State. The Aztecs lost a lot of talent off of last year’s team that earned a #7 seed in the NCAA Tournament and beat Oklahoma before falling victim to Florida Gulf Coast. But this group did not need time to replace their departing production. In non-conference play their only loss was to Arizona and they beat the likes of Creighton, Marquette, Washington and Kansas.  

Big Wins: 11/29 vs Creighton (86-80), 1/5 at Kansas (61-57), 3/8 New Mexico (51-48)
Bad Losses: 11/14 Arizona (60-69), 2/11 at Wyoming (62-68), 2/22 at New Mexico (44-58)
Coach: Steve Fisher (15 seasons at San Diego State)

Why They Can Surprise:
This team is all about defense and rebounding. The defensive effort starts with point guard Xavier Thames up top and his 1.7 steals per game. After Thames, the Aztecs are loaded with size. Winston Shepard is practically a 6-8 guard and opposing shooting guards can have a very, very tough time shooting over his lanky frame. Unlike many bigger perimeter defenders, Shepard has the quickness to keep up with a 6-2 wing. The sophomore has also emerged as the team’s second leading scorer and a tough rebounder. JJ O’Brien, a versatile 6-7 forward, Josh Davis, at 6-8, and 6-10 Skylar Spencer round out the usual starting five. Davis is a double-double threat every game and spearheads the impressive effort on the glass. After setting the freshman Mountain West record for blocks in 2013-2014, Spencer continues to develop his all-around game. He will not score much, but attacking the basket is not easy against Spencer and the rest of the Aztecs.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The overall shooting for San Diego State is surprisingly poor. Thames is a great outside shooter and all-around scorer and Ageel Quinn, Dwayne Polee II and Matt Shrigley are capable of sparking the offense off of the bench, but the team as a whole shoots just 43.9 percent from the floor. That would not be a horrible number if this was a team that relied heavily on outside shooting, but that is not the case with the Aztecs. They are a big team that wants to attack the basket with their size and athleticism. That should result in much better shooting. The shooting woes are also prevalent on the charity stripe, where they rank among the worst in the country.

Probable Starters:
Xavier Thames, Senior, Guard, 16.8 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.7 spg
Winston Shepard, Sophomore, Forward, 12.1 ppg, 2.2 apg, 5.2 rpg
JJ O’Brien , Junior, Forward, 8.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Josh Davis, Senior, Forward, 7.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg
Skylar Spencer, Sophomore, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.5 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Dwayne Polee II, Junior, Forward, 7.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Ageel Quinn, Junior, Guard, 5.3 ppg, 1.0 apg
Matt Shrigley, Freshman, Forward, 5.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.3 (176th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.2 (2, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (191, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.5 (8, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.1 (284, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.6 (117, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.2 (317, 11)
Rebound Margin: 5.3 (23, 2)
Assists Per Game: 10.1 (327, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.2 (20, 4)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    NCAA    Second Round win over Oklahoma
2013    NCAA    Third Round loss to Florida Gulf Coast
2012    NCAA    Second Round loss to North Carolina State
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Northern Colorado
2011    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Temple
2011    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Connecticut
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Tennessee
2009    NIT        First Round win over Weber State
2009    NIT        Second Round win over Kansas State
2009    NIT        Quarterfinal win over St. Mary's
2009    NIT        Semifinal loss to Baylor
2008    NIT        First Round loss to Florida
2007    NIT        First Round Win over Missouri State
2007    NIT        Second Round loss to Syracuse

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules