Aztecs Open NCAA Action vs. NC State on Friday in Columbus

March 12, 2012

SAN DIEGO -

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Aztecs in NCAA Tournament For 3rd Straight Season; Open Tourney Against North Carolina State on Friday in Columbus, Ohio

After claiming a share of its second consecutive Mountain West Conference regular-season title, No. 22/23 (AP/Coaches) San Diego State, the sixth-seeded team in the Midwest Region, opens NCAA Tournament play on Friday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio, against 11th-seeded North Carolina State.

The contest will be the first of four Friday games at Nationwide Arena and game time is set for 12:40 p.m. ET (9:40 a.m. PT). The contest will be shown nationally in high definition on truTV and is available on KOGO 95.7 FM and AM 600.

In the NCAA Tournament for a school-record third consecutive season, San Diego State owns a 26-7 record. The Aztecs are in the postseason for a seventh consecutive season, won at least 20 games for a seventh consecutive season, and are currently one of seven schools in the nation to have won at least 25 games each of the last four seasons.

San Diego State, which finished as Mountain West regular-season co-champions with a 10-4 record, advanced to the championship game of the 2012 Conoco MW Championships, falling to New Mexico, 68-59. Junior guard Chase Tapley connected on five three-point field goals en route to a game-high 25 points and five rebounds. Sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin recorded his 12th double-double of the season with 16 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

The Aztecs continue to be present in the national polls, spending a 12th consecutive week in the Associated Press Top 25. This week, San Diego State is ranked 22nd by the Associated Press and 23rd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

One reason for the Aztecs' success this season has been their stellar defense. San Diego State ranks among the nation's elite in defense as demonstrated by its national rankings in field-goal percentage defense (31st, 40.0 pct.) and fewest personal fouls (29th, 15.9). Despite starting four guards, the Aztecs are 39th nationally in rebound margin at +4.8.

San Diego State's remarkable season caught many of the prognosticators off guard. The Aztecs lost four starters and the top four scorers off last season's 34-3, NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 team. No national preseason publication predicted that SDSU would make the NCAA Tournament and the Aztecs were not picked to finish higher than third in the conference.

This marks the eighth Division I NCAA Tournament appearance for San Diego State and the third consecutive season the Aztecs have been part of the NCAA field. It also marks the first time in 42 seasons at the Division I level in which the Aztecs have received an at-large selection in the tournament. On the previous seven trips, the Aztecs received an automatic bid to the field.

Friday will mark the first men's basketball game played between San Diego State and North Carolina State. The Aztecs are 1-5 against the current configuration of the ACC, posting a 56-49 win over Miami (Fla.) on Feb. 6, 1988.

The North Carolina State Game

*San Diego State and North Carolina State are meeting for the first-time ever. In fact, SDSU head coach Steve Fisher has never faced the Wolfpack during his coaching career.

* The NCAA second round match-up is just the seventh time San Diego State will face an ACC opponent and first since it played at Duke in 2001.

* SDSU enters the NCAA Tournament with 2-1 record when owning a higher seed. Last season as a No. 2 seed, the Aztecs defeated 15th-seeded Northern Colorado and seventh-seeded Temple in Tucson, Ariz., before falling to third-seeded and eventual national champion Connecticut in the Sweet 16 in Anaheim, Calif.