With the San Diego State Aztecs and the BYU Cougars both currently sitting pretty in the top 10, the race for the Mountain West Conference Championship shapes up to be one for the ages.
Both squads have been sensational. Both present match—up nightmares. Both have looked downright unbeatable at times.
Only one will ultimately be crowned the Champs.
While that coronation won’t occur until March, the early returns indicate which group has the inside track.
The road to the MWC title runs through Provo, not San Diego.
The Aztecs are ahead of the Cougars in the National Rankings as well as the standings. They have played 18 games, they have won 18 games. Home, away, neutral, rain, snow or shine, San Diego State has been handing out beatings indiscriminately since early November.
The frontcourt troika of Kawhi Leonard, Malcolm Thomas and Billy White has yet to encounter a worthy adversary. There may not be a better group of big men in college basketball.
This year’s edition is clearly and unequivocally the best Aztec team in the history of the school and probably one of the best teams in the brief history of the MWC.
San Diego State is scary good. If they wind up playing into the second or even third weekend of NCAA tournament, it should come as no surprise.
Having said that, the Aztecs have company in awesome land.
If SDSU is scary, BYU has become downright terrifying.
Unlike the Aztecs, who exploded out of the gate with a statement victory at Gonzaga, the Cougars trotted out to a solid yet quiet start. They chugged along, sputtering just once in a loss to UCLA, picking up speed along the way.
In a matter of months BYU went from probably good, to sneaky good, to really good, to a runaway train of dizzying goodness.
The Cougars have been mowing down opponents lately with such ruthless efficiency as to leave opposing fans in an angry stupor, wandering out into the night to mutter repeatedly:
“What just happened?”
The answer is always the same:
Never before has such a stupid—sounding name struck so much fear into the hearts of opposing MWC coaches, players and fans.
BYU Senior guard Jimmer Fredette has been on an absolute, coldblooded rampage of late. His diverse scoring abilities are uncanny. He makes the ridiculous look routine. He makes great defenders look silly. At the top of his game, he makes the Cougars look unbeatable.
In addition to assassin-like scoring abilities, Fredette is an adept passer. BYU is a team of shooters. It’s a classic case of pick your poison.
With Fredette at the helm, the Cougars are a veritable offensive juggernaut.
San Diego State overwhelms their opponents with unyielding power, length and athleticism. BYU pummels opponents with a relentless barrage of offensive firepower.
Both teams are deadly, but only one will survive the conference grind and emerge on top.
Just a few weeks ago, all signs were pointing directly towards the Aztecs as the number one intimidator in the MWC, the proverbial team to beat.
Fredette, however, has almost single-handedly wrestled that distinction away from San Diego State and pushed BYU to the head of the class.
For now, the Cougars, not the Aztecs, are the most dangerous team in the MWC. If Fredette keeps his blender of offensive destruction set to obliterate, BYU will keep making milkshakes of the competition until well into March.
San Diego State, along with the rest of Cougars’ foes, may still be searching for SuperJimmer’s Kryptonite.
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