Match the Aztecs against any team that doesn't feature one of the top two candidates for college player of the year and they're likely to win. They beat nearly all comers in piling up a record 34 victories during the 2010-11 season.
But in their two losses to BYU in the regular season and the 74-67 defeat by Connecticut in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Thursday, San Diego State was an up-close witness to the Jimmer and Kemba shows.
It was a great ride while it lasted, though most Aztecs fans will tell you it shouldn't have ended when it did. But that's basketball. If you don't stop your opponent's star player, in this case an All-American, you can't expect to win.
The Aztecs tried to stop UConn's Kemba Walker, even to the point of knocking him down, though Jamaal Franklin's shoulder nudge returning to the bench during a timeout produced a dive by the Huskies star worthy of those often witnessed on a soccer field.
It was the second of two needless (as in "didn't need to be called") technical fouls, and it halted a rally that lifted the Aztecs from a nine-point halftime deficit to a four-point lead midway through the second half. Spotty free-throw shooting, which many said would hurt SDSU if it advanced in the postseason, finally did take a toll.
But the inability to prevent Walker from hitting four 3-pointers and driving to the basket for some easy and not-so-easy lay-ins cost the Aztecs dearly. His 36 points, including 22 in the second half, powered the Huskies in much the same way as Jimmer Fredette pinned the first loss on the 20-0 Aztecs with 43 points in the game at BYU in January.
Yes, there were the missed shots from close in that we've seen from the Aztecs before, but the inside game always seemed to me a safer bet, especially when State had again trimmed a nine-point deficit to one with under three minutes to play.
Had Kawhi Leonard nailed the 3-pointer he tried that would have given SDSU a two-point lead, Aztec fans might be preparing for an Elite Eight game against Arizona on Saturday. It missed the mark, and who's to say a five-footer wouldn't have bounced out, but I would rather have seen Leonard go to the hoop, even with the threat of a charging foul that could have put him out of the game.
One thing is certain. Whether Jimmer or Kemba comes out on top in the balloting for player of the year, the Aztecs and their fans won't protest the decision.