Mar 18, 2024 - News

Aztecs face UAB Friday in NCAA tourney first round

Illustration of a basketball with a bracket pattern

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

San Diego State will face the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Spokane, Washington, on Friday, hoping to begin another march through the Big Dance.

The big picture: SDSU (22-9) is a No. 5 seed — same as last year, when it reached the national title game.

The Aztecs open as 7.5-point favorites over 12-seed UAB.

  • The Aztecs open as 7.5-point favorites over 12th-seeded UAB.

Threat level: The Blazers ended the regular season at 23-11, finishing fourth in the American Athletic Conference before winning the AAC tournament Sunday.

  • Junior forward Yaxel Lendeborg leads UAB in scoring and rebounding.

State of play: The Aztecs lost to New Mexico in the Mountain West tournament's title game Saturday and turn to the veteran leadership of star forward Jaedon LeDee, 2023 Final Four hero Lamont Butler and senior guard Darrion Trammell.

What's next: If SDSU takes care of business Friday, it will face the winner of 4-seed Auburn and 13-seed Yale on Sunday, as they look to make their fourth Sweet 16 appearance.

Axios San Diego is hosting our own bracket challenge for March Madness.

How it works: Join our group on ESPN's website and enter a bracket for the men's or women's side — or both!

  • Once the tournament wraps up, we'll see who had the most accurate predictions and select a winner from each group.
  • Winners get an assortment of Axios swag.

Once you've submitted your bracket, let us know how you chose your winners. Coolest mascot? Random selection? Personal favorites?

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