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San Diego State Stays Unbeaten With 72-55 Road Win at Boise State; Aztecs Now a Top 6 March Madness Favorite

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in College Basketball

Updated Mar 25, 2020 · 4:13 PM PDT

San Diego State University Aztecs
San Diego State remains undefeated this season following a 72-55 victory over Boise State on Sunday. (Photo by Alan Smith/Icon Sportswire).
  • No. 4 San Diego State moved to 26-0 with a 72-55 victory over Boise State Sunday
  • The Aztecs are also a Top 6 March Madness favorite at sportsbooks with +1300 odds
  • Are they a good bet to the National Championship?

The San Diego State Aztecs (26-0, 15-0 Mountain West) remain undefeated this season thanks to a 72-55 victory over Boise State Sunday. The Aztecs are also now a top 6 favorite to win the NCAA Tournament, going off at +1300. SDSU will now try to close out the first perfect regular season in the Mountain West’s 21-year history with games remaining against UNLV, Colorado State and Nevada.

2020 NCAA Tournament Odds

Team Odds
Gonzaga +900
Baylor +1000
Duke +1000
Kansas +1000
Louisville +1100
San Diego State +1300
Dayton +1600
Kentucky +2000
Maryland +2000
Michigan State +2000
Seton Hall +2200
Auburn +2500
Oregon +2500
Florida State +3300
Arizona +4000
Michigan +4000
Penn State +4000
Villanova +4000
West Virginia +4000

Odds taken Feb. 16th

They’re  No. 4 in the AP rankings and No. 4 in KenPom ratings. As the squad with the sixth shortest March Madness odds (after Gonzaga, the trio of Baylor, Duke and Kansas — and Louisville), the Aztecs face those same exact consensus odds on the 2020 National Championship odds tracker. Do they deserve their current status? Or is Brian Dutcher’s team fool’s gold? Let’s analyze San Diego State’s elite betting status.

Playing the Schedule

All any team can do is play the schedule in front of it, and the Aztecs have done that without a blemish in 2019-20. SDSU’s perfect record continued against the Broncos.

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And make no mistake, while Boise State isn’t a national heavyweight, or even ranked, they had been a formidable opponent to San Diego State recently. The Aztecs had lost three straight in Taco Bell Arena and were coming off an emotional net-cutting ceremony Tuesday night after beating New Mexico to celebrate their Mountain West title.

But all five Aztec starters scored in double figures against Boise State, led by Malachi Flynn’s 22 points. They shot 55.6 percent from the field and had 16 assists against just eight turnovers. All this against a Bronco team that had won six of seven coming in and needing a win to boost its hopes of an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament selection committee. So much for that. San Diego State continues to defy logic.

Contenders or Pretenders?

But is San Diego State truly legit? Even if the Aztecs run the table  in the regular season (which they’re favored to do according to KenPom) and win the Mountain West Tournament, are they deserving of a Top 6 March Madness favorite status? They would be 32-0 and a probable No. 1 seed in the East (with Gonzaga being the likely No.1 seed in the West). By virtue of that status, the Aztecs would be deserving of such short odds.

As Dutcher revealed after Sunday’s win, “I told our team, ‘Let’s get greedy. Let’s play for perfection.’”

“If we’re this close, we might as well play for a perfect regular season. Why not win three straight as a mini-goal to chase something other than seeding in the tournament? Let’s do something special.”

Of course, something special after that would be to knock off three more wins in Vegas, then six straight victories, culminating in another net-cutting ceremony at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But remember, this is a program that only owns six NCAA Tournament wins total in program history. It’s rare for teams without tourney pedigrees to make deep runs.

This makes the Aztecs more pretenders than contenders.

Defying the Odds

Ultimately though, these Aztecs are unique. While they’ve only beaten two currently ranked teams, and those wins against Creighton and Iowa came on back-to-back nights in late November to win the Las Vegas Invitational, KenPom loves San Diego State.

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Yes, that win against the Hawkeyes was nearly three months ago, but the basketball efficiency website has San Diego State rated No. 8 in offense adjusted efficiency and No. 7 in defense adjusted efficiency. That makes them the only team other than Duke to be rated in the top ten in both categories. That’s heady company for a team that has run the table thus far.

In the end, I believe San Diego State is deserving of its current March Madness odds. The Aztecs are certainly more deserving of their status compared to a similar mid-major like Dayton at +1600. And the group at +2000, which includes historic tourney heavyweights Kentucky and Michigan State, have much tougher games ahead prior to Selection Sunday than do the Aztecs.

Enjoy these days while they last, Aztec fans!

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