Team preview: San Diego State

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

It's a simple newspaper clipping, tacked up on a bedroom wall. Several months old, it's a little tattered and faded.

But ask Brandon Heath (18.4 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.4 rpg, 1.5 spg) whether emotions surrounding the subject matter of that clipping have subsided and he'll quickly tell you otherwise.

"I will never forget that," Heath said.

He's talking about a photograph taken of him crying immediately after San Diego State's devastating 87-83 loss to Indiana in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

"The Indiana game -- that really made you feel bad," coach Steve Fisher said. "We were the better team. We just had a meltdown in the final 80 seconds. But we still had the lead with 20 seconds to go."

"They made a couple plays down the stretch. But we could have taken care of the ball better than we did," said Heath, who went 6-for-17 and was involved in a loose-ball skirmish at half-court that started the downward spiral.

Because the 11th-seeded Aztecs shot 56 percent both from the field and from beyond the arc, the agonizing defeat hurt even more.

"It's one of the hardest losses that I've been a part of -- bar none," said Fisher, entering his 16th season as a head coach and eighth in San Diego. "It would have been the crowning jewel to a great, great season. But it still was a very good season."

As the only Mountain West Conference team to win the regular-season title and tournament championship, San Diego State led wire-to-wire and upheld its preseason pick as the team to beat.

The Aztecs even changed their up-tempo style and excelled in a slow-down game during their three MWC Tournament games -- including an overtime win over seventh-seeded Wyoming in the championship.