Nathan Mensah Mar 24, 2023; Louisville, KY, USA; San Diego State Aztecs assistant athletic director Matt Soria celebrates with San Diego State Aztecs forward Nathan Mensah (31) after the Aztecs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA tournament round of sixteen at KFC YUM! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

When a top seed goes down in the NCAA Tournament, the natural tendency is to see what went wrong. But in San Diego State’s upset over Alabama on Friday, something went very right for the Aztecs.

That was the play of big man Nathan Mensah.

Mensah showed why he is the two-time Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference. He finished the game with five blocked shots. That included a late block on Jahvon Quinerly, which essentially iced the game for San Diego State.

And it’s impossible to know how many other shots he influenced. The Tide attempted 27 three-pointers on the night. If Mensah’s presence made Alabama want to avoid the paint, his impact on the game is even greater.

Basketball fans reacted strongly to his standout game.

A lot went wrong for Alabama on the night. Brandon Miller, struggled from the field all day. And while Mensah’s presence in the paint might have forced the Tide into trying 27 three-pointers, had they shot more effectively and made more than three, the result might have been different.

But even in an era which places extra value on long-range shooting, even from big men, Mensah showed that there’s still another way. Mensah was 1-for-3 on field goal attempts and scored only four points. Still, he found a way to dominate the best team in the country.

About Michael Dixon

About Michael:
-- Writer/editor for and
-- Bay Area born and raised, currently living in the Indianapolis area.
-- Twitter:
@mfdixon1985 (personal).
@michaeldixonsports (work).
-- Email:
Send tips, corrections, comments and (respectful) disagreements to that email. Do the same with pizza recommendations, taco recommendations and Seinfeld quotes.