San Diego State enjoyed a fabulous season in 2010-11, reaching as high as No. 4 in the AP Top 25.
The Aztecs are back in the rankings, and it's unlikely they will drop out soon considering their next few opponents.
Coach Steve Fisher's team debuts in the poll at No. 25 and will host Division III opponent Redlands on Friday night.
Led by San Antonio Spurs' first-round draft pick Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State (11-2) went 34-3 and lost to eventual national champion Connecticut in the regional semifinals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Three other starters departed along with Leonard, but the Aztecs still have a solid nucleus back. Junior guard Chase Tapley is averaging 17.4 points to join three other players in double figures this season.
The Aztecs have not played since an 81-55 win over Elon on Dec. 22. They have three home games left before beginning Mountain West play against No. 19 UNLV, but it's unlikely they will be tested by Redlands (4-5), San Diego Christian and winless Chicago State.
San Diego State shot a season-high 55.7 percent and held Elon to 31.7 percent shooting before departing for a break over the holidays.
"I feel good about it, not only the victory but the way we got the victory," Fisher said. "We did a really good job, for the most part, with how we guarded."
Tim Shelton returned to the lineup after missing a game with knee problems. He had seven points, four assists and three rebounds.
"It felt pretty good," Shelton said. "I was doing pretty well. I felt little pains here and there a couple times. Other than that I've been fighting it for a while and with the adrenaline of the game and the excitement, it didn't hurt that much."
Starting point guard Xavier Thames missed his first game with a sprained knee, and Fisher said he won't rush him back until MWC play begins. Jamaal Franklin started in his place and had 19 points.
Tapley made his first appearance of the season at point guard and had 14 points and three assists.
"You spend more energy guarding the guard, getting over screens, making sure everybody gets the ball in their sweet spot," Tapley said. "It's something that I've been working on."
San Diego State was a Division II team when it had a rivalry with Redlands decades ago. The Aztecs have a 24-13 lead in a series that took place from 1925-68.
The Bulldogs are in their fifth season under coach Jim Ducey, whose sons Bryan and Jake are assistants. The Ducey clan helped Redlands post its first winning season in four with a 16-12 mark in 2010-11.
Redlands has not played since handing previously unbeaten Puget Sound a 90-72 defeat on Dec. 22. Stephen Call scored 25 points off the bench.
While the Aztecs have four available players listed at 6-foot-7 or taller, the Bulldogs have one. Redlands fell behind 70-27 at halftime in its lone exhibition game against a Division I foe, a 118-68 loss to Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 11.
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