2021 Mountain West Tournament: Day 1 Schedule, Bracket, Livestreaming, More
Opening round games start late Wednesday morning
All 11 Mountain West teams will converge to Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center for the conference tournament. The opening round starts with teams seeded sixth through 11 and they started just before lunch time out West and go all day.
To be fair, it is highly unlikely that these teams are very likely to move on farther than whoever gets the victory during this first set of games. However, weird things happen in March so I shouldn’t throw a blanket statement out there because upsets happen all the time and who knows if UNLV, which is playing at home, can take advantage of that and make it to the semifinals.
First Round (Wed., March 10)
All three games will stream on the Mountain West Network
The KenPom line feels very accurate in this one and even though both squads are heading to Vegas with what appears to be fully healthy. The Cowboys bring the advantage.
I know things are different under a new coach, and March is built around those Cinderella-style runs made by the underdogs, but the majority of the squad that made that run is back, with some improvements and new additions I might add.
So barring the best defensive effort by the Spartans all season, I think Jeff Linder gets his first conference tournament win in the Mountain West before the Spartans do on Wednesday.
The winner of this first round matchup will face regular season conference champions San Diego State on Thursday. The second-round matchup against who many consider being the favorites to cut the nets down on Saturday is a tall task.
In both games against Air Force, UNLV allowed the Falcons to shoot over 40 percent from both the field and from three. In fact, in the first game between these teams on February 6th, Air Force shot 50 percent from the floor.
The Falcons were allowed to hang around due to bad shot selection and a less then discipline defensive strategy. The Rebels were lucky to win those games. Will their luck run out or are they able to live to see Utah State, a team who they beat at the Thomas and Mack once this season?
Game 3: No. 11 New Mexico vs. No. 6 Fresno State, 7 p.m. ET
The Lobos have had one of the toughest seasons in all of college basketball by playing away from home all season which led to everything being so difficult.
The last time these two teams played it was Fresno State who won both games with the first was a 64-62 overtime win and the second game was not in overtime but still a close game was 65-55. The Bulldogs are favored to win by 7.5 points and that is surprisingly low as the Lobos are also playing for a lame duck coach in Paul Weir who is not returning after New Mexico and Weir mutually agreed to part ways.
Another reason why it will be hard for New Mexico to move on to the next round is that their roster has been decimated by a few scholarship players who decided to not play out this season. When they played Colorado State, the Lobos had just six scholarship players.