REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS
|6||San Diego State||9–9||16-13|
|9||San Jose State||7–11||14-15|
MWC Tournament SCHEDULE
|First round – Wednesday, March 8|
|1||2:00 pm||#8 Utah State vs. #9 San Jose State||MW Net|
|2||4:30 pm||#7 Wyoming vs. #10 Air Force||MW Net|
|3||7:00 pm||#6 San Diego St vs. #11 UNLV||MW Net|
|Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 9|
|4||3:00 pm||#1 Nevada vs. Game 1 winner||CBSSN|
|5||5:30 pm||#4 Fresno State vs. #5 New Mexico||CBSSN|
|6||9:00 pm||#2 Colorado State vs. Game 2 winner||CBSSN|
|7||11:30 pm||#3 Boise State vs. Game 3 winner||CBSSN|
|Semifinals – Friday, March 10|
|8||10:00 pm||Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner||CBSSN|
|9||12:30 am||Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner||CBSSN|
|Championship – Saturday, March 11|
|10||6:00 pm||Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner||CBS|
MWC Tournament PREVIEW
This year’s Mountain West tournament is looking drastically different than it has the past few years. Perennial powers San Diego State and New Mexico find themselves at the #6 and #5 seeds respectively. The benefactor of this all? The Nevada Wolf Pack. The Wolf Pack clinched the #1 seed in the tournament with an 85-72 victory in a winner-take-all game vs Colorado State on Saturday. While Nevada comes into the tournament as the favorite, Colorado State has won seven of their last eight, so they come into the tournament with momentum, and I wouldn’t rule out Boise State either, the Broncos beat SMU in the non-conference, and swept Colorado State during the regular season. The point is, this conference is wide open.
MWC Tournament PREDICTIONS
The MWC tournament format is a little weird because they only have 11 teams in their conference. The top five seed will get byes to the quarterfinals, while the 6-11 seed will have to play an extra game on Wednesday. In those Wednesday games I see San Diego State and Wyoming as safe bets, in the third game (Utah State vs San Jose State) I’ll lean Utah State. SJSU has lost four straight games, and five of their last six, and I see that continuing. That sets up Nevada vs Utah State in the quarterfinals, where the Wolfpack should cruise to a semifinal berth. Colorado State should have pretty easy time with Wyoming, Wyoming’s strength of schedule looks nice, but the Cowboys are 0-8 vs Kenpom top 100 teams. The 4/5 game to see who will face Nevada should be a good one, and I’ve got Fresno State over New Mexico. These two split the season series, but here in the rubber match, I don’t know if New Mexico’s offense can keep up with the potent defense of Fresno State, and I have the Bulldogs advancing to play Nevada. The final quarterfinal is practically a tossup. San Diego State was the conference’s preseason projected champion, and Boise State has arguably the best win of any team in the conference, the Broncos beat current-top 20 team SMU back in November. These two teams have only played eachother once, and it was all the way back in early January, a 12 point home win for Boise State. However, this game will be on a neutral court, and is taking place two months later, so a lot has changed. This will come down to momentum, and SDSU has lost three of their last four, and they will fall in the conference QF’s.
So as of yet we have chalk in the Mountain West. The two semifinals are (1) Nevada vs (4) Fresno State and (2) Colorado State vs (3) Boise State. Starting with the latter game, Colorado State will try and wear down Boise State, the Broncos will be fresh off of a hard-fought win over #6 seed San Diego State, and to add to that, Colorado State forces the longest offensive possessions in the conference. On the other side, Boise State is the third fastest team in the MWC, so whichever team can control that tempo will win the game. In both meetings between these two this year, Boise State has been able to do that. I’ve got Boise making it 3-0 vs the Rams, and advancing to the finals. The other conference semi is even more interesting. Nevada has clearly been the best team in the Mountain West this year, but their kryptonite has been Fresno State. The Bulldogs have been the only team to beat the Wolfpack on the road this year, and were the only MW team to be undefeated vs Nevada this year. In both of those games, Fresno State got Nevada in foul trouble, and Nevada doesn’t have the depth to deal with that. As long as Nevada can stay out of foul trouble, I think the Wolfpack can get their revenge on Fresno, and move on to face Boise State in the finals.
So here we are, the Mountain West finals, Boise State and Nevada. Nevada is led by Senior transfer Marcus Marshall, and Boise State is led by junior Chandler Hutchinson, who is averaging 17 points and eight rebounds a game this season. Hutchinson plays guard and forward, and has been the key for the Broncos. He could find himself matching up against Cameron Oliver, who scored 17 and 21 in the two matchups between these two teams this year. If Oliver has another big game like that, Nevada will win this game, and I think he will. Nevada is the best offensive team in the conference, and they will end Boise State’s Cinderella run at a bid.
MWC Tournament BRACKET
Wednesday, March 8
Thursday, March 9
Friday, March 10
Saturday, March 11
|9||San Jose State|
|6||San Diego State|
|6||San Diego State|