A 16-game regular-season home schedule, including a four-game home stretch to open the season and 10 games against teams that advanced to the 2004 NCAA Tournament highlight the 2004-05 San Diego State men’s basketball schedule, released by head coach Steve Fisher on Tuesday.
Of the Aztecs’ 13 non-conference games, four are against teams that played in last season’s NCAA Tournament, six are against teams that won 19 or more games a year ago and nine versus opponents that posted a .500 or better record in 2003-04. Non-conference home highlights include the inaugural San Diego SLAM featuring four California schools (SDSU vs. California and San Diego vs. USC), games against Providence and Monmouth, both of which advanced to NCAA play last season, games against both city schools, San Diego and UCSD, and contests against three other California schools.
“This is perhaps the most challenging non-conference schedule since we have been here,” Fisher said. “The schedule will challenge us both at home and on the road. This should help prepare us for another competitive season in the Mountain West Conference.”
The Aztecs’ non-conference opponents’ record in 2003-04 was a lofty 210-179 (54.0 percent). Factoring out the record of the two city opponents (San Diego and UCSD), SDSU’s opponents posted a 197-135 record (59.3 percent) last season. That winning percentage is considerably higher than in 2001-02 when the Aztecs’ non-conference Division I foes had a 54.8 percent winning percentage from the previous season and at the end of the season the schedule was rated as the nation’s 29th most difficult.
“We have been fortunate to be able to bring high-profile teams to Cox Arena and that continues again this season with games against California and Providence,” Fisher said. “We are grateful for the fan support we have had and we will need to continue to build on that again this season.”
San Diego State returns four starters and nine letter-winners off a squad that posted 14 victories last season despite returning just one starter. Steve Fisher is a perfect eight for eight in leading teams to the postseason when returning three or more starters off a team he coached. Fisher has guided six of those eight squads to the NCAA Tournament, including the 2001-02 San Diego State team that returned four starters, and has averaged 22.6 victories per season when three or more return of the starting five.
San Diego State will open the 2004-05 campaign with four consecutive home games, the longest homestand to open a campaign in two decades (1974-75). The Aztecs, who have compiled a 34-13 (72.3 percent) record at Cox Arena the last three seasons, open the season on Friday, Nov. 19, against UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos and Aztecs last met in the 2003 National Invitation Tournament with SDSU recording its first Division I postseason victory in school history with a 62-57 win. The last two meetings between the teams have been decided in overtime.
The Aztecs continue the homestand against defending Northeast Conference champion and NCAA Tournament participant Monmouth. The Hawks, who posted a 21-12 record in 2003-04, and Aztecs will be meeting for the first time.
The following week San Diego State looks to claim its third consecutive city championship as the Aztecs play host to UC San Diego on Saturday, Nov. 27, and San Diego on Wed., Dec. 1.
SDSU hits the road for the first time with a trip up the Pacific coast to face UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Dec. 4. The Aztecs follow that up with a road game at another NCAA Tournament participant from 2004, Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
San Diego State returns home to play host to the San Diego SLAM featuring four of the state’s top basketball programs. In the first game, San Diego faces USC, before the Aztecs battle California in the nightcap. The basketball doubleheader highlights a weekend of activities for the players and fans.
Following the SLAM, the Aztecs battle Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at Cox Arena. On Saturday, Dec. 18, SDSU heads north to face Loyola Marymount before returning to Cox Arena for a date with Cal State Fullerton on Tue., Dec. 21.
The Aztecs travel out of the Pacific time zone for the first time late in the holiday month for a game at Iowa State on Tuesday, Dec. 28. The game marks the final non-conference road game for San Diego State, which defeated Iowa State 86-76 last season at Cox Arena. The Cyclones, which won 20 games last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, are 20-1 in their last 21 regular-season home games.
San Diego State closes out non-conference play with a pair of games at Cox Arena. San Diego State will face its first opponent from the Big East Conference since 1989 when the Aztecs face 2004 NCAA Tournament team Providence on Friday, Dec. 31. In a battle of schools with the SDSU monogram, the Aztecs play host to South Dakota State on Monday, Jan. 3. The Jacks won 27 games last season and have won 118 games since the 2000-01 campaign.
Although the television schedule is still in the process of being finalized, every San Diego State Mountain West Conference game will be televised for the second consecutive season. Of the 14 league games, 12 will be shown in the San Diego market on Channel 4 San Diego with the other two contests slated for national coverage by ESPN.
Season tickets are currently on sale through the San Diego State ticket office (619) 283-SDSU and at goaztecs.com.