Selection Sunday: Where Will Nevada, Utah State Be Seeded And Placed?
Nevada and Utah State will hear their names called during Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Selection Show
Nevada and Utah State are headed to the NCAA Tournament
And then there were two.
Nevada and Utah State will represent the Mountain West in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the second consecutive season the league will send multiple teams to the Big Dance.
The league’s co-champs finished the season with a 15-3 win-loss record in conference play. Nevada, the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West Tournament, was bounced in the semifinals by No. 4 seed San Diego State, the runner-up to No. 2 seed Utah State in Saturday’s championship game.
Before we get into projecting the seeds and placement for Nevada and Utah State, let’s go over the respective resumes of these two teams and where they stand on Selection Sunday relative to the field.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Best wins: Utah State (home), Arizona State (neutral)
Losses: Utah State (road), San Diego State (road, neutral), New Mexico (road)
Breakdown: Nevada limps into Selection Sunday with a 29-4 win-loss record that doesn’t have a whole lot of meat behind it. The Wolf Pack raced out to a 24-1 record to start the year but is just 5-3 over the last eight games. Two Q3 losses hurt (at New Mexico and against San Diego State in the Mountain West Tournament) but the lack of quality wins hurts even more. Nevada intended in scheduling up in non-conference play with expected NCAA Tournament contenders in USC, Arizona State, Utah, BYU, and South Dakota State, but Arizona State is the only team with even a distant shot of being placed into the field of 68. The Wolf Pack’s sole top 50 NET win is its conference-opening victory over Utah State on January 2. The eye test is Nevada’s best friend at this point.
Key stat: Nevada is one of six teams in the country in NET top 25 with an undefeated home record.
Best wins: Nevada (home), Saint Mary’s (neutral), UC Irvine (road)
Losses: Houston (road), Nevada (road), Arizona State (neutral), BYU (road), San Diego State (road), Fresno State (home)
Breakdown: Utah State made a late charge to go from the outside looking in to a team squarely on the bubble to a resume that’s strong enough to be a single-digit seed in the bracket. The Aggies own three Q1 victories to date, including the dramatic home win over Nevada and two beatdowns of California mid-majors in Saint Mary’s (WCC Tournament champion) and UC Irvine (Big West Tournament champion). USU’s non-conference strength of schedule is of major importance. Craig Smith’s team boasts a top 20 NCSOS, oftentimes the detriment of most mid-majors that lack a handful of quality victories.
Key stat: Utah State and Duke are the only teams in the country to rank in the NET top 30 with a top 20 NCSOS and at least 14 wins away from home.
NCAA Tournament Projections
Nevada: No. 7 seed vs. Florida (MIDWEST) – Columbus, OH
Utah State: No. 9 seed vs. Iowa (WEST) – Jacksonville, FL
Eli Boettger is the lead basketball writer at Mountain West Wire. He’s covered Mountain West basketball since 2015 and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, MSN, and other platforms. Boettger is a current USBWA member.