clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What a championship would mean to San Diego State men’s basketball? Everything

The Aztecs had never won a game on the second NCAA Tournament weekend in team history. Now they’re 80 minutes from the first championship in Burrito County’s history.

Head coach Brian Dutcher of the San Diego State Aztecs celebrates by cutting down the net after defeating the Creighton Bluejays in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The San Diego State Aztecs aren’t just representing their campus in the 2023 NCAA Tournament; they’re the bellwether for an entire city and county.

The San Diego Padres have played in California’s southern-most coastal county since 1969, but have yet to win a World Series. The NFL’s Chargers played right off Interstate 8 from 1961-2016, but they’ve headed up I-5 to play second banana in the larger media market Los Angeles without bring home a title. Just as the NBA’s Clippers did after playing from 1978-84 at the San Diego Sports Arena.

And that makes San Diego the largest American city (No. 8 by current population) not to have won a Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, or Stanley Cup. The Aztecs football team hasn’t yet to come close to a national championship, and the hoops team had never been past a March Madness Sweet 16 before last Friday.

So what would a Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship mean in America’s Finest City? It would be a first title for the city. Ever. In basically anything.

Excluding the 1973 Men’s NCAA Volleyball Championship that was held on SDSU’s campus, and seven Division II titles in non-revenue sports the Aztecs won while competing in the lower level of college athletics, a victory would be a first for an entire region. There has literally never been a championship parade in a city of over 1.4 million people, but this team and The Show are just two wins away from making history not just for a campus and a county.

So no pressure, Brian Dutcher and players, but the hopes and dreams of an entire sporting region are on your shoulders in Houston this weekend. You’ve got a chance to become immortal in place more known for modified beach baseball and burritos than beating a rival in the final game.

The Aztecs are a 3-point favorite over Florida Atlantic in Saturday’s national semifinal at DraftKings Sportsbook.