San Diego State players and coach Brian Dutcher, bottom center, celebrate their victory over Utah State for the men's Mountain West Tournament basketball championship Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

The San Diego State men’s basketball team received the fifth seed in the South Region and will face 12th-seeded College of Charleston in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Aztecs (27-6), who earned the Mountain West’s automatic bid after winning the league’s tournament, received the bid Sunday for the “Big Dance” and will meet the Cougars (31-3) on Thursday at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

This is SDSU’s 18th overall NCAA Tournament appearance, 15th at the Division I level, 10th in the last 14 years, and fourth in the six seasons since head coach Brian Dutcher took over the reigns of the program, according to SDSU.

(The Aztecs were 30-2 in 2019-20, but the NCAA Tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic).
San Diego State captured the Mountain West regular season with a 15-3 record, and then beat Colorado State (64-61), San Jose State (64-49) and Utah State (62-57) at the Mountain West Championship last week for its seventh Mountain West tournament title.

College of Charleston on hot streak

College of Charleston, meanwhile, earned the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic bid for the NCAA tournament by beating UNCW, 63-58, in the championship game on March 7.

The Cougars have won their last 10 games and have set a CAA record with 31 victories on the season.
The winner of No. 5 San Diego State and No. 12 College of Charleston will square off in the second round with the winner of No. 4 Virginia (25-7) and No. 13 Furman (27-7) on Saturday, March 18.
The Aztecs and Cougars have met once before with SDSU winning, 72-52, in the opening game of the Wooden Legacy on Nov. 28, 2013 in Fullerton, California.

Mountain West title game

The Aztecs on Saturday held Utah State without a field goal for nearly nine minutes, changing the tenor of the game as San Diego State rallied to win .

The Aztecs (27-6) claimed their Mountain West-record seventh tournament title, and second in three years.

This also was their conference-record 15th appearance in the title game.

Lamont Butler of San Diego State battles for the ball during the Mountain West championship game. (AP)

This was the fourth time in the last five years the teams have played each other in the Mountain West championship game.

Utah State won the 2019 and 2020 title games, and San Diego State went home with the 2021 trophy.

Boise State temporarily ended the monopoly last season by beating the Aztecs 53-52.

Tournament MVP Matt Bradley scored 16 points for San Diego State and Jaedon LeDee had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Half of LeDee’s rebounds came on the offensive end.

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