Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The San Diego State Aztecs needed to go for broke last season because they had one shot at belonging with college basketball's best.
The stars aligned for SDSU's historic season to take place; once-per-generation star prospect commits and a cast of tough and experienced seniors in a weak conference.
The yield? A 34-3 record, top-five ranking all year and a Sweet 16 appearance.
Kawhi Leonard, Billy White, Malcolm Thomas and Co. earned every bit of the team's success this year, but the team was fool's gold from the start, proven by their inability to beat any team worth its bacon. SDSU beat one ranked team all year long, the BYU team they got blown out by twice before.
When push came to shove in the Sweet 16, and even in the second-round game versus Temple, the Aztecs were not up to snuff. They were exposed for what they truly were: an impressively inflated resume that was nothing more than a championship pretender.
Now, all the fun is over. Leonard is off to the NBA. Seniors Thomas, White, D.J. Gay and Brian Carlwell are graduated and coach Steve Fisher is back to his below-average recruiting.
Sorry, Aztec fans. Your team might remain at the top of the Mountain West, but the hope for a national championship will never run as high as it did in 2011.