The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team drew the San Diego State Aztecs in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And now 11th-seeded ‘Cuse look to upset 6th-seeded SDSU. It’s not all that surprising, but these two schools do not hold a long and robust history with one another, meeting just twice before Friday. However, both matchups were historic in their own way.
2007: Record Setting NIT
The first time the two coasts met, it was in the postseason! Just not the one people care about.
The Aztecs came to the building formerly and still known as the Carrier Dome to play in the Orange in front of an NIT record 26,572 fans, dethroning Kentucky from the NIT Attendance title. Senior forward Demetris Nichols dominated SDSU, scoring 20 points in the 80-64 victory in what was Jim Boeheim’s 750th victory. I told ya it was record setting!
2012: We’re On a Boat!
There was a time when the great minds of this great sport decided, “what if we played basketball, but not in a gym!” and all gave themselves six figure bonuses for a job well done.
The Orange and Aztecs were dragged into this fad, having a non-conference regular season game elevated to “A Thing” by playing on the deck of the U.S.S. Midway, in what was dubbed “The Battle of the Midway,” another million dollar idea. This game was close to canned, due to mother naturing reminding everyone that playing a game on the deck of a boat might not be a great idea! The game itself did take place, albeit with high winds that definitely played a part in the 62-49 Cuse leaning final. Both teams were ranked, and the game nationally televised, so there ya go.
Bonus matchup: Syracuse football’s been stealing SDSU’s coaches of late. Just something to be aware of.
Friday Night Lights: A true trilogy
And thus, we come to the end of the trilogy, as the Orange and Aztecs round out the Regular Season - NIT - NCAA Tournament series trifecta Friday in Indianapolis. Can the Orange complete the series sweep? Or will SDSU find a way to steal a game? With the game taking place in the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in an unprecedented year, this series has already become one of the memorable in ‘Cuse history.