San Diego State hosts BYU on Saturday in a nationally televised game between top-10 teams that everyone will be watching. Not only is first place in the Mountain West Conference on the line, but also to the winner of the rematch goes a major win on the resume. Could the resulting popularity bump vault either of these teams into top-seed consideration?
For BYU, a win at San Diego State would mean two wins against the Aztecs along with victories against Arizona, Utah State and Saint Mary's. For San Diego State, a win would mean preserving the nation's best record and remaining the only one-loss team.
"That I have no clue on," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said of a possible top seed in the NCAA tournament. "That is for others to decide. I think there's a case for where we could be bantered in that mix. I would hope we would be in the talk for a one or two seed."
Neither San Diego State nor BYU moved up significantly in the rankings despite the top four teams from last week -- Kansas, Ohio State, Texas and Pittsburgh -- suffering losses. The Aztecs held steady at No. 6 and BYU at No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, with BYU receiving a couple of first-place votes. The coaches moved the Aztecs up two spots to No. 4, giving them three first-place votes, and also moved the Cougars one spot to No. 7.
What more do these teams have to do to merit a top ranking and top seed in the NCAA tournament, and is there a glass ceiling when it comes to these two MWC teams?
BYU coach Dave Rose believes location is a factor.
"I think it's not only the league, but it's somewhat different for West Coast teams. The media is mainly East Coast, and they see everything. A lot of the games, the media is long to bed. It's something that's kind of built in in college basketball, and probably other sports, too."
So maybe there's East Coast bias involved and a lack of respect for the MWC. Whatever it is, all eyes will be on San Diego State and BYU on Saturday. It'll be in the morning on the West Coast and in the afternoon for everyone else.
And a top team might be emerging before your very eyes.