BYU plays San Diego State Saturday afternoon before a full house at Cox Arena.

Across town, Gonzaga plays USD Monday night before a full house at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

This may not be the college basketball atmosphere many of us transplanted San Diegans are accustomed to when we lived in Big Ten country, where people are indoors all winter and any match-up is the highlight of the week, but the game continues to evolve in San Diego.

College basketball has been growing every year since SDSU went the NCAA tournament in 2002, USD in 2003 and SDSU returned in 2006. SDSU and USD have both been up-and-down this year, but that hasn’t spoiled the anticipation of the upcoming games.

We haven’t had many weekends such as this one in this town.

BYU is the Mountain West Conference leader at 21-6 and 11-2, while SDSU is the defending champion at 19-8 and 8-5.

Gonzaga isn’t leading the West Coast Conference this year, but the Bulldogs (19-10, 9-3) still carry a national profile when they face USD (15-11, 5-7). This game would have been even bigger if the referee hadn’t swallowed his whistle at last year’s Gonzaga-USD game at the JCP when guard Ross DeRogatis, now a senior, was hacked on a 12-foot game-winning shot at the buzzer.

I’ve come to appreciate San Diego’s college basketball climate, weather and otherwise.


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