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San Diego State ready for all challengers in 2012-13

Steve Fisher, Tim Shelton, Chase Tapley

San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, center, talks with Tim Shelton, left, and Chase Tapley in the first half of the Mountain West Conference championship NCAA college basketball game against New Mexico, Saturday, March 10, 2012, in Las Vegas. New Mexico won 68-59. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)


The 2012-13 season will be a big one for Steve Fisher’s San Diego State Aztecs, as it’s their final one in the Mountain West before moving to the Big West (football’s move to the Big East made this necessary).

Losing just front court players Garrett Green and Tim Shelton from a squad that went 26-8 overall and shared the Mountain West regular season title, the Aztecs will have enough talent on Montezuma Mesa to make some serious noise next year.

And with that in mind SDSU seems willing to take on all challengers next season.

Just days after announcing an agreement with UCLA, San Diego State will play Syracuse in the Midway Game on November 9.

Similar to this season’s contest between Michigan State and North Carolina, the Aztecs and Orange will play on an aircraft carrier, the USS Midway (now a museum).

Not to mention the fact that Syracuse will be a Top 10 team in the eyes of many, and San Diego State won’t be far behind in the early polls.

Playing against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone will be an adjustment for San Diego State, but that inconvenience is nothing compared to the boost they’ll receive from playing a traditional power on national TV.

“I try not to think about that,” said Fisher to the San Diego Union-Tribune when asked about dealing with Syracuse’s zone. “I guess if I could have handpicked somebody, I could have picked somebody (easier) for us to play.

“But we are very excited to play Syracuse, whether it’s on a boat, in our arena, or a parking lot.”

In addition to the games against Syracuse and UCLA the Aztecs will take part in a Diamond Head Classic that includes two possible NCAA tournament teams in Arizona and Miami, and the Mountain West will improve with the addition of Nevada.

But if there were any year in which SDSU would be equipped for such a challenge (outside of 2010-11) it would be this one, because they’ll be loaded.

Guards Jamaal Franklin, Chase Tapley and Xavier Thames all return, and the addition of Dwayne Polee (St. John’s transfer) and freshmen forwards Winston Shepard, Matt Shrigley and Skylar Spencer should be considered as well.

This will provide Fisher with enough depth to not only win the Mountain West but make a run at being the best team on the West Coast.

So while Syracuse represents a major test, the Aztecs should be more than capable of passing it with flying colors.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.