Rivalry Reborn: BYU and San Diego State Announce Men's Basketball Home-and-Home series

Max Clark

BYU and San Diego State state announced an agreement to play a home-and-home men’s basketball series during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The Cougars will travel to Viejas Arena in San Diego on Dec. 1, 2020 for the first game of the two-part series. The Aztecs will then travel to Provo to play in the Marriott Center during the 2021-22 season to complete the series.

During the 2019-20 season, the Aztecs traveled to Provo to play the Cougars. San Diego State won the matchup by a small margin of five points – one of the Cougars eight losses under new head coach Mark Pope’s record-breaking inaugural season. The most noteworthy feature of the competition was the absence of BYU standout Yoeli Childs, who was serving a nine-game suspension as a result of his failure to complete necessary paperwork required by the NCAA. The Aztecs finished last season ranked No. 5 in the nation, while the Cougars finished ranked No. 18.

BYU and San Diego State had an exciting rivalry when playing together in the Mountain West Conference. Though the Aztecs still play in the Mountain West, the Cougars left the conference to join the West Coast Conference (WCC) in July 2011.

Perhaps the most memorable matchup between the Cougars and the Aztecs was when Jimmer Fredette led the ninth ranked Cougars to a 71-58 victory over Kawhi Leonard and the Aztecs in front of a crowd of 22,000+ in Provo.

When comparing that game to BYU’s victory over No. 2 Gonzaga earlier this year Kyle Chilton – BYU men’s basketball Media Relations Director – said, “The San Diego State game had more of a buzz because the eyes of the college basketball world were focused on Provo. Jimmer Fredette was the favorite for national player of the year and BYU and San Diego State were both top-10 teams” (BYU Cougars).

Jimmer went 14-24 from the field scoring 43 points, while Kawhi scored 22 points and secured 15 rebounds on the night.

Ultimately both teams were eliminated in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Jimmer Fredette was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and National Player of the Year by CBSSports.com. Jimmer was drafted in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks – and later traded to the Sacramento Kings – for the 10th overall pick in the draft. Kawhi Leonard was named All-Mountain West Conference First Team and was drafted number 15 over all in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers and traded later that evening to the San Antonio Spurs.

BYU and San Diego State have had very memorable matchups throughout each programs history. Though the Aztecs and Cougars will have significant changes in their starting-five next season, recent transfers for both schools, such as SDSU commit Terrell Gomez (formerly Cal State Northridge) and BYU transfer Matt Haarms (formerly Purdue), will help facilitate offensive threats on each side of the court.