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San Diego State’s 20-0 start even better than you think


San Diego’s State’s 20-0 start stands on its own as an impressive feat. A little context, however, makes it downright remarkable.

The Aztecs’ hoops history is non-existent. They’d never been ranked in the AP Top 25 until this season. They’ve been to the NCAA tournament six times, half of those coming since 2002. And they’ve never won at the Big Dance.

Those obstacles are usually tough enough to overcome. But SDSU also has bubkis when it comes to practice facilities, salaries, team travel and guarantee games. Forget powers like Kansas or Duke. The Aztecs don’t have much compared to their Mountain West rivals.

It’s all detailed in a pair of excellent stories by the San Diego Union Tribune’s Mark Ziegler, who covers all four areas and how the Aztecs have thrived in spite of those obstacles this season.

Others have certainly taken note.

“It is incredible what Steve Fisher has done, absolutely incredible,” former Villanova coach Steve Lappas told Ziegler. “He’s doing this with resources closer to maybe the Patriot League or the Big Sky (conferences).

“Let me tell you, if I’m taking a job at a program that wants to compete at a high level, I’m asking for all those things. I’m asking about the practice facility. I’m asking about the assistant coaches salaries. I want at least four ‘buy’ games every season. I want to charter. Those are all such important factors, and he doesn’t have them.

“Absolutely incredible.”

The first story’s a bit shorter and covers the players’ perspectives. The second breaks down the four areas where SDSU is behind other schools and what it’s doing to catch up.

Read ‘em and you’ll marvel at the job Steve Fisher’s done with his squad. If he doesn’t win coach of the year, it’d be a travesty.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.