SAN DIEGO (AP) — Steve Fisher’s San Diego State Aztecs are in the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year, earning the No. 4 seed in the West and a matchup against some old friends with 13th-seeded New Mexico State.
The Aztecs (29-4) and Aggies (26-9) will play Thursday in Spokane.
New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies was on Fisher’s first staff after he was hired at SDSU in 1999. One of their first recruits, Aerick Sanders, is on Menzies’ staff.
“There will be a San Diego State connection when we play Marvin and New Mexico State, and we will look forward to the challenge,” Fisher said Sunday. “They’re a good team.”
Fisher calls Menzies “a great friend” and said they talk regularly.
“Marvin and I talked a couple of weeks ago, and I’m sure we’ll talk again and say, we wish we didn’t have to play one another,” Fisher said Sunday. “But we’ll be competitors for one game.
“When we talk, we talk about generalities with our teams,” Fisher said. “He’s seen us play; we’ve seen him play. By tomorrow we will have a snapshot for our players. We’ll be able to show them just enough, not too much. They’ll be ready to go.”
SDSU lost to New Mexico in the Mountain West tournament title game on Saturday. New Mexico State, with 7-5, 360-pound center Sim Bhullar, routed Idaho for its third straight Western Athletic Conference tournament title.
Fisher calls Bhullar and his brother, Tanveer, “the twin towers.” Tanveer Bhullar is listed as 7-3, 335 pounds.
“It’ll be a fun matchup. It’ll be interesting,” said Skylar Spencer, a 6-10 forward for the Aztecs.
Forward Winston Shepard, who’s 6-8, said he knows Sim Bhullar from the AAU circuit.
“I know he’s really big, so I hope Sky hits the weights tomorrow,” Shepard joked.
The Aztecs faced New Mexico’s big men, Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk, three times in three weeks, “so our bigs are going to be ready,” SDSU point guard Xavier Thames said.
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