San Diego State’s men’s basketball team will finish second in the Mountain West, according to the conference’s annual media preseason poll, officials announced this week.
If the prediction holds true, the Aztecs’ hold on the top spot after back-to-back regular-season titles will end. They finished last season 23-5, ranked No. 16 in the nation.
It was close though. The Aztecs garnered 201 points and seven of the 20 possible first-place votes in the poll, just behind Colorado State, with 207 points and 11 first-place votes.
“I told the kids from the start, ‘we’re going to be good this year,’ but how soon we’re good remains to be seen,” coach Brian Dutcher said this week at the conference basketball media day.
Nevada was picked third in the preseason poll. The Wolf Pack picked up 189 points and two first-place votes to finish ahead of Boise State (147 points) and Utah State (127 points).
Fresno State, UNLV, New Mexico, Wyoming, San Jose State and Air Force followed in the poll.
SDSU has been predicted to finish either first or second in the MW preseason poll in each of the last eight years.
In addition, senior guard Matt Bradley, a transfer from California, was named the league’s preseason newcomer of the year.
Bradley, a senior out of San Bernardino, averaged 18 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season while shooting 45.5% from the floor. His points and field goal, three-point field goal and free throw percentages would have ranked the top-5 in the MW.
In 2020-21, the 6’4”, 240-pound guard reached double figures in 21 games, finishing with 15 or more points 15 times, and 20 or more points 11 times, including a career-high 29 against Colorado on Feb. 13. He had 11 games with 20-plus points to rank second in the Pac-12.
He was named a second-team All-Pac-12 honoree in two straight seasons.
In addition, this week he was included on the watch list for the 2022 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award, the most prestigious distinction for the position in college basketball.
San Diego State opens the season Nov. 3 with an exhibition game against Saint Katherine at Viejas Arena. Six days later, the Aztecs host UC Riverside in the regular season opener.