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The Dagger

Jamaal Franklin’s bizarre dunk may be a sign good luck is finally on San Diego State’s side

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Jamaal Franklin already has perhaps the best dunk of this year's college basketball season. Now the San Diego State star may also have the weirdest.

With 49 seconds left in San Diego State's 70-55 opening-round NCAA tournament win over Oklahoma on Friday night, Franklin miscalculated just a bit on an attempt to cap a 21-point performance with a reverse dunk. The ball clanged off the rim, bounced high in the air, rattled around and somehow went in.

"I thought Jamaal was going to do some freaky nasty at the end but he just didn't," guard Chase Tapley told reporters after the game. "We don't think about the highlights and everything. A win is a win, and we'll take it anyway we get can it."

The dunk was fitting because it feels like San Diego State finally has some good fortune on its side after an up-and-down, injury-riddled season. Expected to contend for the Mountain West crown with UNLV and New Mexico, the Aztecs faded to a tie for fourth with Boise State, a dip caused by both the strength of the league and by injuries to Xavier Thames (back), Chase Tapley (wrist) and James Rahon (shoulder).

The NCAA tournament is a new season, and San Diego State is poised to take advantage. Not only are Thames, Tapley and Rahon the healthiest they've been since non-league play, the Aztecs also have the good fortune of drawing No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast instead of No. 2 Georgetown in the round of 32.

Florida Gulf Coast will be a challenging opponent if it plays with the confidence and athleticism it displayed against the Hoyas, but the Eagles don't have the type of size and strength inside that has hurt the Aztecs this season. Ultimately, it's a golden opportunity for San Diego State to make a second Sweet 16 in three seasons and to turn a season that had been a mild disappointment into a success story.

More NCAA tournament content from Yahoo! Sports:

More NCAA tournament content from Yahoo! Sports:
Best of the NCAA tournament: Day 2
This many people picked Florida Gulf Coast to win the national title
New Mexico beat writer goes on rant, quits in column
Photo gallery: NCAA tournament players with relatives in the pros

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