Is San Diego State still a 1 seed?
Well, it happened. San Diego State took their first L of the season. They lost to UNLV 66-63 at home. At the moment it is a Quad 3 loss, and it will likely remain that way. The fear among SDSU fans has been that an in loss conference, especially at home, would seriously hurt their odds at a No. 1 seed and probably drop them down a line if not two lines.
Checking in over at bracketmatrix.com, we find that so far those fears have so far been unwarranted. SDSU is still projected to be the fourth 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, making them the No. 1 seed in the East. The gap between them and the 5th team has narrowed considerably though. SDSU’s average seed is 1.50, whereas Duke’s average seed is 1.81, and Dayton’s is 1.88.
Joe Lunardi recently wrote that if a team like Duke, Dayton, or a couple other teams were to win their regular season and/or conference tournament titles, they could possibly pass SDSU for the final No. 1 seed. For now, though, a top seed is San Diego State’s to lose.
It does reopen the debate over whether it would be better to be a No. 1 seed in the east or a No. 2 seed in the west. The 1 seed would have easier match ups, whereas with a No. 2 seed SDSU would basically have home court advantage through the Elite 8, should they make it that far. San Diego State fans shouldn’t root for another loss, but if Joe Lunardi is right maybe they should root for Duke or Dayton to keep winning and surpass them? It’s up for each fan to decide of course.
There’s also the slim possibility that Gonzaga could slip up in their final couple of games and SDSU could pass them for the 1 seed in the West. It is highly unlikely, but technically not impossible.
The only other team to have a projection at BracketMatrix.com is Utah State. They seem to be in control of their own destiny, and most experts I’ve read agree that if they win out except for a possible MW championship game against SDSU, they’d get an at-large bid. They are currently projected as an 11 seed to face one of Iowa, Michigan, Arizona, or Ohio State.
Utah State’s biggest challenge may be if they face Nevada in the Tournament. Jalen Harris is playing out of his mind and when a team shoots the ball as well as Nevada does (9th in the Nation in 3pt. %) they can hang around with anyone in the league. If anyone could steal a bid to the NCAA Tournament, it would be Nevada.
Bracket Matrix doesn’t include an NIT projection, but DRatings.com does, so I went there to see what other MW teams are gaining traction. They project 4 Mountain West teams to make the NIT. They have Boise St. as a 4 seed, Nevada as a 5 seed, Colorado State as a 7 seed, and UNLV as an 8 seed.
With any luck, one or two of those teams can make a run and use that momentum to improve next year and get an extra team in to the big dance.