The Mountain West Tournament is like Aztec Christmas. It is the most wonderful time of the year. Rampant debauchery and SDSU victories are an unbeatable combination. The three days in March last season were among the best ever for Aztec fans, so it would be a tall task for this team to match the thrill experienced a season ago. The team definitely did not let us down this year, as this year’s tournament may have been the best ever for SDSU. The Show would do everything in its power to will the Aztecs to victory at game time, but until that time there was a lot of fun to be had.
There may be more blogs to follow from other members of The Show. This blog concerns the exploits of just a few of us, dubbed The Show Corps of Engineers (because each person is an engineering major), I am the lone non-engineering representative as a finance major.
Leaving around 9AM on Thursday morning, we were able to start our trip off with a bang. Before leaving San Diego County we stopped at a donut drive thru, and while trying to decide what to order the donut person asked if we would like “a lot” of donuts for $5. Being as indecisive as we are, we agreed to the deal. Seconds later we were delivered a box of what must have been 70 donuts, and all of a sudden we were able to quantify what exactly is meant by “a lot”. The five of us consumed less than 10% of the box of approximately 10,000 calories before abandoning the box with a Costco employee while we were refueling.
Later on the drive up we stopped at the In-N-Out in Barstow. It is my belief that the town exists solely to refuel and feed travelers making the trek from San Diego to Las Vegas, but I digress. Immediately upon entering the restaurant we spotted several groups of Aztecs fans that had stopped for the fine cuisine. I was excited to see so many SDSU fans, and I knew we would have a great showing at the T&M. During the last stretches of the trip to Las Vegas we closely followed BYU’s desperate victory over a terrible TCU team. I guess BYU fans might be finding out that it takes more than one player to make a team after all.
We arrived at Planet Hollywood and rested before heading over to the arena shortly before game time. Over the past few years the Aztecs and The Show have converted the Thomas & Mack into a comfortable vacation home. This game would be no different as The Show represented quite well, with a legitimate student section. I believe it was the only section in the arena to stand for the entire game. We had a large block of tickets in one section, and everyone else seemed to gravitate towards that section until we had a few hundred Show members dominating the arena’s atmosphere.
The highlights of the first game included freshman Jamaal Franklin’s 3 three pointers, and his blocked shot (from behind on 7’3″ David Foster). And chanting “he’s a freshman” after his 3rd three pointer. As Tim Shelton proclaims in his smash hit Game Time Ready, “future’s looking bright, boys coming in X Thames, LB and Jamaal Franklin!” Holding Jim Boylen’s Utes to 15 points at halftime was another highlight.
After the game we purchased all our booze and got some pizza from Dominos, before heading out to the strip for a victory stroll. This is where things get hazy for me and the nights blur together. Walking the strip dancing, and singing is a blast. It’s even more fun when you’ve got rival MWC fans walking the strip as well. I can’t remember seeing any byu fans walking around so late at night, but we did see plenty of Lobos. Each time we saw one we would chant “BEAT BYU, BEAT BYU.” And they would often join in with us or high five and woo. The WAC tournament was also going on in Vegas at the same time as our tournament, which meant seeing plenty of Utah State fans.
We love fellow byu haters, and we got a picture with one bunch. One of our favorite activities to celebrate victory is what we called the “fecta,” or what may be better described as a bump.
You’ve seen it performed often by the Aztecs on the court. The “fectas” kept getting larger and larger, I believe the most we ever had was approximately 20 people, performed after winning the championship. So anyway, on Thursday night (or rather Friday morning) I finally went to sleep after having been awake for 35 hours. It was the seventh time this season that I have been up for over 24 straight hours for Aztecs basketball.
On Friday morning (after just a few hours of sleep) our group moved to the Hard Rock for the remainder of our stay. One benefit of staying at the team’s hotel is randomly running into National Championship winner Steve Fisher. Before going to the semifinal game against UNLV, we grabbed some food at a place called Smash Burger. I recommend it highly. At the restaurant we spotted several byu fans, I guess they only come out in Las Vegas during daylight hours. For any MWC fan that attended the tournament, you might be wondering if byu has more than one player. Believe it or not their team is made up of many people. byu fans apparently aren’t aware of that fact however. Every single byu fan in attendance at the tournament sported some sort of jimmer paraphernalia, whether it was a “you got jimmered” shirt or a jimmer jersey. One patron at Smash Burger even had a byu hat, with the number 32 emblazoned on the side. After the Utah game we did spot a UNLV fan getting in on the “32″ fun.
Before heading to the game we stopped at Blondie’s at the Miracle Mile and met up with many other Aztec fans. We sang and chanted and did our thing. We made the bar ours, and we made Arizona and Penn State fans jealous. We eventually headed over to the arena to watch the UNM/byu tussle. UNM made it a good game for a while until Drew Gordon fouled out and Dairese Gary went down with a torn ACL. It’s sad to see Gary’s career at UNM end that way. I wish the Lobos the best in the NIT, and I hope they can make some noise even without their senior leader.
Before the UNLV game people were a little worried about DJ Gay’s recent performance. So I made the prediction that DJ would go off for 18 in this game. He ended up with 15, but I was close. I will never worry about DJ’s performance, because even when he’s not shooting well he is still under control, making good decisions, and playing good defense. He’s just always a leader. And when it comes down to it, I know that in the games that we really need DJ to step up, he does so. The game against UNLV is what DJ Gay is all about. He is a leader through and through, and he did it again by winning the game with a floater as time ran down (without the need to call a timeout).
The highlight of this game is that we own the Thomas & Mack. Kruger simply cannot beat Steve Fisher. The Aztecs have now won 8 out of the last 9 games against UNLV and 5 of 6 on UNLV’s home floor. It’s always a pleasure to chant “this is our house” as the sad sack Rebel fans exit the arena, especially after such a thrilling victory. Other post victory chants included “AAAAZTECS” in mock of the “Rebels” chant, “We Want Jimmer,” and of course a cappella renditions of Uprising and the SDSU fight song.
The semifinal game ended later so we didn’t have as much time to hang out on the strip but we tried anyway. Eventually we just got food at O’Shea’s and called it a night.
On Saturday we slept in and didn’t do much before going to the game. When we arrived we were fully rested and ready for what could be the battle of the century. This game was for all the marbles. The stakes were possibly the highest ever. The winner would get undisputed bragging rights, the West region in the NCAA Tournament, a banner, and most importantly the final victory in what could be the last basketball or football game played between the two schools for a very long time. The Aztecs were going for their second straight tournament title, and byu would try for their first title in a decade. On the way to the arena I said I would love to see an Aztec blowout and then predicted that the Aztecs would win by 18. That is a 100% true story.
The Aztecs burst out to a 5-0 lead and at that point as far as I was concerned the game was already over. The Aztecs looked hungry and ready to play. There was no way we would lose this day. If you watched this game then there is no way that you can dispute that the MWC is a major conference. A match up of two top 8 teams is not something many conferences can boast. The crowd was electric, whenever either team would score the noise in the arena was deafening. The MWC is big time basketball (and football too for that matter). Some of my favorite moments of the game were the first two times jimmer tried to drive on Jamaal and both times he came up empty. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this game is that Billy White came up big. When Billy has a good game the Aztecs are unbeatable and that’s all there is to it. When the Aztecs built the lead to 23 I found myself wondering if this was real life. The Show was going absolutely nuts, and the byu fans around us were moping. It felt good knowing that they could see how happy we were. When byu cut the lead to 10 one fan made a sign asking us “nervous?” Ha, nice try troll. It was the same fan who a day earlier filmed us because he thought we were sad that UNM couldn’t beat byu. On March 12th the Aztecs looked like an NBA team. The Aztecs forced turnovers and had breakaway dunks, that is the best way to win. The picture of Kawhi taken at the end of the game sums it all up. The Aztecs got the last laugh.
After the final buzzer sounded we stuck around and celebrated on the floor. It was kind of difficult getting down there but most of us eventually did. It was kind of sad to see some fans still in the stands, but they probably had a better view of the proceedings than I did. Speaking of “better views,” WALDshOw was able to get right under the basket during the net cutting ceremony for some incredible pictures.
After that celebration we headed out to the team bus. There we waited to congratulate the team. We sang Frere Jacques for Mehdi, chanted Game Time Ready for Tim Shelton, yelled “DEEE JAAAY GAAAY” for DJ, and “BILLYYYY WHITE” for Billy. Steve Fisher took the time to thank all 200 or so of the fans and shook each person’s hand. Steve Fisher is a coach that knows this kind of thing doesn’t happen for everyone. All Aztec fans should be so grateful to have such a quality person as our head coach. While congratulating the team I was also able to get a victory hug from Jamaal.
After becoming tournament champions we went to Sonic for a victory dinner. Shout out to the guy that saw me there and asked if I was the guy that writes this Road Show Blog. Sorry I didn’t catch your name. We then went back to our room and played what was apparently the best game of King’s Cup ever. The greatest moment was when the rule was that any profanity resulted in taking a drink, and at the same time categories came up and the category was swear words. We had a good few minutes of laughter about that one. Eventually we made our way out to Blondie’s again for some more post championship fun.
The next day we stuck around Vegas for a while because we wanted to sleep in. We had lazy day, getting Coke floats at the factory and playing a never ending game of air hockey at GameWorks before heading over to the restaurant formerly known as the ESPN Zone. There we watched the selection show and cheered loudly when the Aztecs seed and location were announced. We were mildly disappointed that we did not receive a 1 seed, but we were very happy with Tucson in the West region.
Some of the top quotes from the weekend:
“I believe that we will win.”
-When asked on the strip by an evangelist “What do you believe?”
“If the Navy could clone me, they’d have the perfect warrior.”
“That’s an honor code violation!”
-WALDshOw, when a male BYU fan entered the women’s bathroom at the T&M.
“Do What Davies Does”
-Jessica Valadez, to a BYU fan trying to talk trash
“Watch out guys, when I’m drunk I can get a little rapey.”
-Shall go unnamed
Now I will share some stories with you that were submitted to me by other members of The Show for inclusion in this blog. One man’s point of view was simply not enough for this glorious weekend.
From Billy Blanco:
I got a chance to talk to Billy White’s dad after the game while waiting for the players to load the bus. He really liked the sign we brought and asked if he could have it. I snapped a photo with him before handing it over. He said he was going to have the team sign it and put it up with all of Billy’s trophies and awards.
From Shane who had a conversation with Boylen:
As he was walking by, I kind of turned in my chair and said “way to be classy in your interview yesterday regarding Kawhi, coach”. He asked me, “what?” So I repeated what I said. His response, “Shut your f***ing mouth,” and as he walked off he said, “I hate those F’in Aztecs.” After he walked off, I had a feeling that it wasn’t over and sure enough, as I kept an eye peeled in that direction I saw him walking over. He walked directly towards me. When he got within a couple feet, I made it a point to get up out of my chair (I didn’t trust him). He then said, “come talk with me over here,” and had his arm outstretched like he wanted to put his arm around me. I made it clear to say, “first of all, don’t put your hands on me; I know you have a bit of a temper.”
From Ripley’s Show It Or Not:
The Show exits the party bus before the championship game.
Celebrating victory, Ocean’s 11 style.
I think that just about covers it for this blog. So until next time…