Joe Lunardi reveals first bracketology projection of the offseason, includes two MW squads
Never to early for some bracketology projections.
The Aztecs and the Rams are predicted to go dancing in March by bracketology expert Joe Lunardi.
There have been plenty of changes in the conference this offseason, from whole coaching staffs for some programs to nearly entire rosters for others. But the Mountain West appears primed for another exciting season ahead, and according to ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi’s first projection of the offseason, the teams that can expect to go dancing in March are Colorado State and San Diego State.
Yes, it’s July and yes there is still plenty of time from here until what many are hoping to be a “normal” college basketball season this fall. Still, both programs have geared up for the upcoming season in different ways and plan to battle it out for the conference’s top spot.
NCAA Bracketology – Projecting the 2022 March Madness men's field. 🏀😎 https://t.co/NKCYctvU9F
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) July 13, 2021
Lunardi has the Aztecs as the No. 9 seed out West facing a No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish squad. The Rams are pegged as a last four in selection and the No. 11 seed pitted against their own ACC program, a No. 11 seeded Virginia Cavaliers in the East. The only thing I had to guess was who Lunardi failed to select as the Mountain West’s automatic bid, supposedly signified by an “aq” next to the team’s name but neither squad had it. One would assume it was Brian Dutcher’s Aztecs being a higher seed and not a last four in selection, but I digress.
Niko Medved and the Rams return almost their entire 2020-2021 squad, once again led by Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy. While the Aztecs are hoping to repeat as regular season and conference tournament champions with some familiar faces as well as some new ones from the transfer portal.
The Mountain West was a two-bid conference last season, with the Aztecs taking the automatic bid as conference tournament champions and Utah State receiving the only at-large bid from the conference.
Both programs would make early exits from the tournament. As the No. 6 seeded Aztecs suffered one of the more painful defeats of the big dance (62-78) at the hands of the No. 11 seeded Syracuse Orange led by aa hot-handed Buddy Boeheim (30 points on 7-10 shooting from deep) and what appeared to be a cheat code induced performance. The Aggies on the other hand made their exit in the first round in a 53-65 loss to Chris Beard and his No. 6 seed Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Colorado State joined Boise State in the NIT as a No. 1 seed where they would go all the way to the Semifinals, only to lose 67-90 to the Memphis Tigers who also eliminated the Broncos one round prior.
Once again, yes folks, it’s July. Yet with the NBA decision day behind us we can start the formulating, calculating and of course the educated guessing officially but can always hope for more at-large bids, fingers crossed.
Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.