15 Most Important Mountain West Basketball Games
Circle these games on your calendar.
These are the must watch games
With fans filling up stadiums around the Mountain West and college football at the midway point of the season, schedules are being filled up by coaching staffs in anticipation for the start of the basketball season in early November.
With new coaching staffs at both Nevada and UNLV and head coaches heading into their sophomore years at Utah State, Colorado State, and Fresno State, schedules are being built to challenge teams and get others recognized on the national radar.
With some schedules complete and others filling a few holes here and there let’s take a look at the top fifteen games for Mountain West teams heading into the 2019-2020 season.
1. Colorado State @ Duke November 8th
With a pretty hefty non-conference schedule, the highlight of the Rams slate would be the Duke Blue Devils in Durham around the tip off of college basketball. This could be a real resume booster if the Rams were to pull off an upset, but ultimately it is going to give them some National exposure against a traditional blue blood program in Niko Medved’s second season in Fort Collins.
2. San Diego State vs. Texas Tech (possibility) Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational Las Vegas, NV November 29th
Now this is more of a “hopefully this happens” kind of scenario more so than a TBD. The National Championship runner ups will be an early test for a transfer heavy Aztec rotation. The Red Raiders have a top recruiting class, impact transfers, and returning impact players to give any team this season a challenge and any fanbase a show with Chris Beard at the helm for his fourth season.
3. Utah State vs. Florida Orange Bowl Basketball Classic Sunrise, FL December 21st
The Aggies enter their second season under Craig Smith and the second-year head coach has scheduled some heavy hitters for his team as he hopes to build off of last years success. Florida is hoping for a reemergence this year with a slew of impact guys back, a top ten recruiting class, and the most sought-after grad-transfer this past off season in Kerry Blackshear Jr. This is a great chance to see sophomore post Neemias Queta go up against an elite front court player in Blackshear Jr..
4. Nevada @ BYU December 10th Provo, UT
This game comes in fourth for a couple of reasons. Though the new Alford led Wolf Pack will have several tests before this game, by the looks of the schedule this might only be their second true road game test in non-conference play. Plus having Alford step back into the Marriott Center for the first time since he took over at UCLA is also something to keep an eye out for, especially after the success he had in that building wearing a certain cherry blazer.
5. New Mexico vs. NMSU home-and-home
In Paul Weir’s third year as head coach at New Mexico he has failed to beat his old employer in four consecutive meetings. This is a make or break year for Weir, who has only added talent to his roster via transfers. Though the Lobos schedule is currently incomplete, winning this game ranks high on the programs to-do list.
6. Utah State – Beehive Classic BYU December 14th (Salt Lake City)
Utah State’s second loss of the season came at the hands of BYU last year. With a majority of that team back, this is a pretty big game for the state of Utah in the post-Dave Rose Era. With Mark Pope taking over a pretty familiar program and bringing in a couple of familiar transfers from Orem with him, this is the Mountain West matchup that BYU has on its schedule I am looking forward to the most.
7. Boise State @ Oregon Eugene, OR November 9th
With a bit of a lackluster non-conference schedule for the Broncos this upcoming season. A Boise St. squad that returns four of it’s top five scorers and brings in a couple of high major transfers this season including former Duck Abu Kigab will take on an always fun to watch Dana Altman led team featuring a familiar face in former Lobo Anthony Mathis.
The Ducks have an impressive recruiting class that was put together over the summer led by five-star big man N’Faly Dante, look for an early test for the Broncos in Eugene.