Steve Fisher, who first rose to prominence when he led Michigan to a National Championship in 1989, is back in the national spotlight again, but this time with San Diego State. With conference regular-season and tournament titles along with a number two seed, this could finally be the year the Aztecs get a tournament victory after failing to win a game in six previous attempts, including three under Coach Fisher. This is the first time the Aztecs are in the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons, and Fisher has plenty of NCAA tournament experience to coach them along. Everything is ripe for the Aztecs to advance to the Sweet 16.
They open against 15th-seeded Northern Colorado on Thursday in Tucson, which is a 6 hour drive from San Diego, and they’re in the Anaheim regional, which is about 100 miles up the road. If they make it to Anaheim, the Aztecs will potentially play the Big East tourney champion, UConn, and as we all know, once we get into the round of 16 anything can happen from there. Steve Fisher joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Scott and BR to talk about if he was disappointed with CBS that they were not involved in their selection show, whether winning the conference championship give them any sort of momentum heading into the NCAA tournament, and if it gets any better that they are playing in Tucson.
If he thought Jimmer Fredette spent all his energy in the game he scored 52 points:
“No, I never feel that way about Fredette. As good as he is and the way that he can just all of a sudden look like it is man against boys with his ability to score. I was hopeful that he would not shoot it the way he did against New Mexico, but he done that before against us. Maybe not quite to that level he is a special player without question, and we did a good job on him.”
Whether he changed the team’s approach against BYU was one of the reasons they won:
“Not really to be honest. We tweaked a little bit but not a lot in how we played them in Viejas Arena when the other guys lit us up. When we, what we would call corral, some people call double team, we only did that with our post player, Malcolm Thomas or Brian Carlwell. Then we did what we did back in the first game, we switched, everybody else that set a ball screen for him we switched it, and we varied who guarded him to start with, we had Billy on him and Cheriet on him, and Chase Tapley on him, which is what we did in the last game.”
If he was disappointed with CBS that they were not involved in their selection show:
“I did not even give that a thought until we were sitting there waiting and I saw some of the places that they had cameras, and I thought for just a second, I wonder why they would not have wanted to come to our place, but I did not really give that a thought. That is not a big deal at all.”
Whether winning the conference championship give them any sort of momentum heading into the NCAA tournament:
“I think that when you get into the NCAA tournament, it is a whole new animal, a whole new process. To be honest, not unlike the start of a conference tournament, and in the conference tournament those teams that struggle and are the middle of the pack and they thought they were winning, or in the bottom and they thought they were good, they get a new lease on life, and you see upsets in conference tournaments. You see teams that had not played well and all of a sudden they catch fire and play well, same thing happen in the NCAA tournament. You get some of the teams that by the skin of their teeth they made it into the tournament and all of a sudden they start to win. So I don’t know there was any formula to it. I like the fact that we are playing good basketball as we head in and that we just won our conference tournament.”
If it gets any better that they are playing in Tucson:
“No, Scott it really could not. We got our wish, and you know, I told our kids this is a little off the track, but when we were in Vegas there were so many fans there from different teams it was neat to watch, and I am walking through our hotel lobby, really a middle-aged lady with some kids, they stopped me, ‘Hey coach we got something for you’, and it was ‘BYU Sucks’, a shirt, and I was like, ‘I don’t want that.’ So I kept walking and another group of San Diego fans and they go, ‘Coach, we got what we wanted. We got what we wanted. We got BYU tomorrow.’ Then I walked two steps further and there was a group of BYU fans, elderly fans and young fans, and their line was, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ I told our team that as we prepared for the game on Saturday. I said, this is the beauty of these kinds of events. I am not going to beware of what we wished for. I am happy we got what we got, Scott. I am thrilled that we received a two seed, we could not be in a more perfect location, Tucson, it is a driveable venue, it is a non-break-the-bank ticket if you fly, so it is great for us.”
If he got to see any of the ‘Fab Four’ ESPN film:
“We did. Jalen sent Dutcher and I what they call a rough cut copy of the movie. Angie and I watched it to relieve a little nervousness on Wednesday night before the tournament, We bused home right after the game, so our team asked to watch it, so we showed it to our team on the way home and I thought they did a great job. I don’t know if I told you, Jalen when he approached me, I said, I would rather not. I really wouldn’t. I just assumed not get involved on anything more on that, and he said, ‘Coach I am involved. I am a producer. My thumbprint will be all over it’ and he said, ‘Trust me!’ and I said, Say no more. I am in’. So they sent a crew down and talked to Dutch and I and I did like it. I thought they did an excellent job of telling a story. It did not get every part of it but it gave others that did not live it like I did an inside peek to what it was about.”