San Diego St. lays claim to top team west of Rockies

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When San Diego State knocked off No. 11 Gonzaga Tuesday, it did two things: Handed the Zags just their fifth loss at the Kennel since 2004 and established itself as the team to beat on the West Coast. (And don’t discount the win because Gonzaga forward Elias Harris got hurt. It was late in the game and he was largely ineffective.)

It was a coming out party of sorts for the 2-0 Aztecs, who snagged their first ranking in the AP poll in school history this season. Some weren’t sold on Steve Fisher’s squad, but it’s now impossible to deny their talent (plenty) and their skill (formidable). In fact, the frontcourt of Billy White and Kawhi Leonard earned itself a spot among the best in the nation after combining for 48 points and 21 rebounds.

“It’s just a glimpse of how good we are, how far we’ve come,” captain D.J. Gay told the San Diego Union Tribune. “The upside for us is endless. We’re going to be as good as we want to be.”

How good? Try Sweet 16 good at the least. They’ll be tested in the Mountain West (BYU and UNLV will challenge for the league title) and that could snag that mythical “best west of the Rockies” title (it’s really only something I use, SDSU; sorry there’s no trophy) depending on how Washington, Arizona and UCLA fare this season.

Me? I liked SDSU from the start. This region is theirs for the taking. But what do you think?

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