ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Connecticut flew clear across the continent for the next round of the NCAA Tournament. San Diego State hopped in a bus and cruised 90 minutes up the interstate.

Huskies coach Jim Calhoun and Aztecs coach Steve Fisher have been doing this long enough to realize miles don't matter at this point in the West Regional -- not compared to the distance both teams already traveled this season to reach this unlikely stage.

Two surprisingly successful schools with breakout superstars and respected bench bosses meet tonight at Honda Center, with the winner moving to the brink of the Final Four.

"It's been a wonderful, wonderful journey that we've had," Fisher said before the Aztecs (34-2) practiced yesterday. "I knew we were going to have a good team. I didn't know just how good we would be."

Fisher's grateful sentiments mirrored the thoughts of Calhoun, a friend for several decades.

While second-seeded San Diego State has won more games and moved deeper into the NCAA Tournament than any team in school history behind star forward Kawhi Leonard, UConn's Hall of Fame coach has been thrilled by his freshman-laden lineup's growing maturity around star guard Kemba Walker for the Huskies (28-9), one of just two Big East teams left.

Calhoun realizes both teams are playing with house money.

"I'm happy. Elated," he deadpanned. "I can't tell you I wrote it down, because I usually try to write where I think we'll be at the end of the season . . . They have the most resilience of any team I've ever coached.

"We're playing the best basketball right now, and everything that could happen good, has happened good."

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