Is Mountain West better than Pac-12?
by Scott M Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to the fourth edition of Bracket Briefing, our attempt to ensure that readers won’t have to wait until March to know who C.J. McCollum is.
Team of the Week: No. 15 San Diego State (6-1)
The best college basketball team in California is not wearing baby blue and yellow anymore. It’s not navy and yellow, either. It’s not even red and yellow.
Try red and black.
The story lines developed from San Diego State’s 78-69 win against UCLA on Saturday were that the Bruins were not as good as projected, freshman sensation Shabazz Muhammad is still on a learning curve, and coach Ben Howland is on the hot seat. But the forgotten story line is that Steve Fisher’s Aztecs are now not only the best team in the Mountain West, but they’re officially the best team in California.
Beating the team with 11 national championships hanging in the rafters was only confirmation. San Diego State (red and black) knocked off UCLA, who finally agreed to play SDSU, after edging USC (red and yellow) on the road this season and beating other premier teams California (navy and yellow) and Long Beach State (black and yellow) last season. The Aztecs have won a staggering 26 consecutive games against in-state opponents.
Where San Diego State would be seeded in the NCAAs if the season ended today: No. 4.
A 62-49 loss to Syracuse to open the season will be forgiven by the committee the more this team wins.
Top-10 team that San Diego State would give fits to: Kansas
The Jayhawks look good on their home court beating up on weaker opponents, but on a neutral court, the Aztecs have the right weapons, including underrated player of the year candidate Jamaal Franklin (20 ppg, 10.7 rpg), to get a win. Fellow Mountain West school Colorado gets a shot against Kansas on Saturday.
Top-10 team that San Diego State would struggle against: Syracuse
Yes, it’d happen again. We saw what happened the first time against Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone: 27% shooting, including 1-for-18 from three-point range. With the game played outside on a ship and … [For more on Bracket Briefing: Is Mountain West better than Pac-12?, click here.]