Monday, February 17, 2014

How Are Our Aztecs Doing? 22-2 Ain’t Bad!

After the Aztecs lost at Wyoming, to hear some people grumbling, you’d have thought it was Coach Fisher’s first season when we went 0-14 in the MWC. Actually, it was just our second loss of this whole season. And now, with the 64-56 win over Air Force Saturday, the Aztecs are 22-2. Perfect? Well, no, but there aren’t many other teams sitting at 22-2! And America’s coaches and writers didn’t flinch too much – the Aztecs moved slightly, from #5 to #6 &  #7 in the polls today.

As usual in Mountain West games, it wasn’t easy. Just a one-point lead at the half. Then a nice run in the second half and the Aztecs’ lead grew to 13. But the Falcons did not roll over and play dead. They battled back and closed it to four before the Aztecs pulled away for the 8-point win.

There is growing comment about the throngs who leave our games early because of the parking problems, but as one stay-till-the-end fan said, at least wait until a timeout. And for sure, if you’re leaving at floor level, do not walk out when you’re right in the sightlines of an Aztec trying shoot a free throw. Yeah, it happens! 

Now we get another home game Tuesday when Utah State comes to Viejas. In addition to a good game, you will see and hear why The Show is still better and more consistent than the so-called “Hurd,” who were at their peak when the Aztecs beat the Aggies in Logan.

Saturday, the Aztecs will invade the Pit in Albuquerque, with its well-earned reputation. 

But remember, our Aztecs have won there two of the last three years.

So, remembering this was supposed to a “down” year, enjoy these over-achievers, and be there to support them the rest of the way! Oh, yeah, right to the end of the game!

Winston Shepard slams home two of his 16 points vs. Air Force on Saturday (photos by Ernie Anderson)

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Transition Season? Not So Far!

After last season, when the Aztecs went to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row, most Aztec fans were happy but figured this season would be sort of a transition. We lost a huge percentage of our scoring with graduating Seniors and Jamaal leaving early for the NBA. 

Those who bought into that idea forgot history. When the great 2010-11 season ended (34-3, MWC Championship, NCAA Sweet 16), it was with a proud but sad farewell to Kawhi Leonard, Billy White, Malcolm Thomas and DJ Gay. Oh well, next year will be a little bit of an off-year but we’ll rebuild. Wrong! It was a 20-8 season and another trip to the NCAA.

Now, this season’s dedicated team is following that script and doing even better, so far. Less regarded players were determined to be winners. They had senior Xavier Thames to provide veteran leadership – and he’s delivered a lot more! JJ O’Brien is back. Josh Davis is a newcomer who added a huge boost. Winston Shepard became a force. Add them to a mix of young players who were “secondary” last year, and they are 19-1 right now, with the only loss to Arizona, the #2 team in America, and 18 wins in a row since! The Aztecs are #5 in both national polls again this week!  

Not bad for a team in transition.

Special Congratulations to Coach Fisher – 300 Aztec Wins!
Saturday’s 65-56 win over Colorado State was Steve Fisher’s 300th Aztec victory. His first 100 came in 205 games. Another 144 games to get to 200 wins. And now to 300 in just 122 more games. There are only 18 active coaches at the Division I level who have won 300 games at the same school. So … a big CONGRATULATIONS to Coach Fisher. And I am convinced the best is yet to come!

Steve Fisher and The Show celebrate his 300th win as an Aztec after the 65-56 win over Colorado State (photo by Ernie Anderson)
Go Aztecs!