SAN DIEGO — The home court can hardly be considered an advantage for the San Diego State basketball team this season.
After all, the Aztecs are 6-0 on the road and 4-2 at home. San Diego State began Western Athletic Conference play last week by winning on the road against Wyoming (60-57) and the Air Force Academy (88-73).
The Aztecs return home tonight at 7:30 when they play host to Utah in the Sports Arena, where they average 3,715 fans.
"We never feel like we have a home court anywhere," Coach Smokey Gaines said. "There's no advantage to playing in front of 3,000 or 4,000 people. That's why we play so well on the road. We play in front of more people."
If the Aztecs hope to be a conference contender, they must do well at home. In 16 of 22 previous seasons, the WAC champion or co-champion has gone undefeated at home during conference play.
"Like I have always said, you need to win all your home games and split on the road to have a good opportunity to win the WAC," Gaines said. "Utah only won four WAC games last year and beat us two times. They match up quite well with us and have good guards."
Kelvin Upshaw and Manuel Hendrix are both returning starters at guard for the Utes (1-1, 6-8). Upshaw is averaging 21 points a game, Hendrix 10.1 points.
Guard Anthony Watson leads San Diego State with a 16.2 scoring average. Watson missed two days of practice this week because of the flu, but he returned Wednesday.
Reserve guard Anthony Sands has been reinstated to the team. Sands quit after an argument with Smokey Gaines over playing time last Saturday, but he asked to return. "He understands that he made a mistake," Gaines said. . . . Forward John Martens has returned to practice following arthroscopic knee surgery on Dec. 26. Martens does not expect to play this week, but he may return for the Jan. 18 game at New Mexico. . . . San Diego State's 10-2 start is its best since 1966-67, when it was a Division 2 team. The Aztecs finished 24-5 that season.