Mountain West Basketball: NCAA Bracket Projections Round Up

Mountain West Basketball: NCAA Bracket Projections Round Up

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Mountain West Basketball: NCAA Bracket Projections Round Up

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Mountain West Basketball: Bracket Projections


Experts predict a higher than average number of MWC teams selected in March.


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An update on the conference’s NCAA Tournament bracket projections, still looking good for four Mountain West teams. 

Fans around the Mountain West have been given a treat this season. In the form of what now looks like a four-bid Mountain West Conference this March. Sorry, no team in the conference is safe this season from a late season blunder and resulting stain on a resume. But at the moment those resumes are stronger than they’ve been in years and most experts are high on the conference as we approach mid-February.

Remember  selection Sunday is on March 13th and slowly inching closer. Along with the First Four matchups of the NCAA Tournament on the 15th and 16th in Dayton.

The Boise State Broncos are currently 18-5 (9-1) and tied for first atop the conference after a 72-65 loss in Laramie to fellow first place holder Wyoming who themselves are 20-3 (9-1). The Cowboys snapped a 14 game Bronco winning streak that game and helped solidify themselves as a potential at-large bid and possible Cinderella next month. With a five game winning streak after splitting that series with Boise State, Jeff Linder’s team is receiving plenty of recognition nationally.

While both Colorado State sitting in third at 18-3 (8-3) and San Diego State sitting in 4th at 14-6 (6-3) in the Mountain West surviving a conference slate that has left them a bit battled and bruised.

The Cowboys who fell out of the AP Top-25 receiving votes section last week is getting all of the love this week. Receiving 82 votes and just missing their first top-25 ranking of the season. While Colorado State and San Diego State appear to have fallen out of favor with AP Top-25 Poll voters at the moment. Wyoming is joined by Boise State (22) as two Mountain West programs receiving votes in the latest rankings.

Now with less than ten regular season games left to go in the conference season. The Mountain West continues to enjoy a fruitful representation among the industry’s trusted rankings and evaluation tools. Since our last update on February 8th, there a season high six teams ranked in KenPom’s top-50 and six teams total in the top-100 with UNLV just missing out at 101.

While the conference’s own strength may be hurting itself in the NCAA’s latest NET rankings with only four programs in the top-50 and six in the top-100. A low for the first time since we began publishing these updates in January.

All of this has led to some very exciting representation among the industry’s most trusted bracketologists’ projections this past week. Although most experts predictions are becoming more and more uniform as the season winds down, and for Mountain West fans that looks like a good thing.

Mountain West Conference KenPom Rankings

29-Boise State

36-Wyoming

31-Utah State

44-San Diego State

45-Fresno State

50-Colorado State

101-UNLV

139-Nevada

142-New Mexico

245-Air Force

285-San Jose State

Mountain West Conference NET Rankings

28-Wyoming

34-Boise State

36-Colorado State

44-Utah State

55-San Diego State

57-Fresno State

110-UNLV

148-Nevada

153-New Mexico

241-Air Force

289-San Jose State

The big dance bid glory days for the Mountain West will always be the 2012-2013 season. That year the conference had five teams go dancing, since then the highest total teams sent was three, two seasons later.

The greedy side of me says “yeah Fresno State or Utah State, please go on a deep run to finish February or win the conference tournament next month” to secure the automatic bid and really make things interesting. But given the league’s history with at-large credibility in recent years I can tell that plan feels a bit risky for some already brittle resumes this late in the season.

CBS SportsPublished Jan. 7th, 2021

Total Teams: 4

No. 7 Seed-Wyoming

No. 8 Seed-Colorado State

No. 10 Seed-Boise State

No. 10 Seed-San Diego State

CBS Bracketologist Jerry Palm appears is giving the most love to Jeff Linder’s Cowboys so far this update. With Wyoming pegged as a No. 7 seed, but has Boise State as a No. 10 Seed lower than Colorado State as a No. 8 seed. Not to mention San Diego State as a No. 10 seed, the only non 12 seeded prediction thus far for the Aztecs.

Maybe a lot to unpack there, or maybe right on the money. It just feels very nice and reaffirming to see a solid list of seeds and no “Last Four In” designations.

ESPNPublished Feb. 8th, 2021

Total Teams: 4

No. 8 Seed- Boise State (Automatic Qualifier)

No. 9 Seed-Wyoming

No. 10 Seed-Colorado State

No. 12 Seed-San Diego State (Last Four In)

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s latest edition of bracketology looks about what many may guess at this moment and time. A climbing Wyoming, a descending San Diego State who may find themselves playing in the NIT if they can’t make a good run to close out the season. Along with the Broncos taking the Mountain West’s automatic qualified and Colorado State nearly missing out on a single-digit seed.

Like I said this looks very in touch with other predictions at the moment but it would be a shame to see San Diego State drop any lower next week.

Heat Check CBBPublished Feb. 3rd, 2021

Total Teams: 4

No. 7 Seed-Boise State

No. 9 Seed-Wyoming

No. 10 Seed-Colorado State

No. 12 Seed-San Diego State

The guys over at Heat Check CBB continue to put out great content and tools like their Tournament Index Ratings. This week Lukas Harkins gives way to

Sports IllustratedPublished Feb. 8th, 2021

Total Teams: 4

No. 8 Seed-Wyoming

No. 9 Seed-Boise State

No. 10 Seed-Colorado State

No. 12 Seed-San Diego State (Last Four In)

Kevin Sweeney’s latest projections give all credit to the Wyoming Cowboys. With a conference leading No. 8 seed but also San Diego State as a Last Four In possibility. Sweeney was one of first to give way to a four-team Mountain West when we started these updates last month. Now it looks like he was very right all along.

Bracket Matrix Composite-Updated on February 8th

Total Teams: 4

No. 8 Seed-Boise State (Avg. 8.35)

No. 9 Seed-Colorado State (Avg. 9.08)

No. 9 Seed-Wyoming (Avg. 9.17)

No. 12 Seed-San Diego State (Avg. 11.37)

Bracket Matrix does a great job of giving out a composite seed from nearly eighty different voices and bracketologists around the country. Their current math pegs a four team Mountain West with the only projections to give the conference three single-digit seeds. I like the way this looks and I could very much see myself calling in sick the whole first week of games to see this conference finally get some wins in the big dance.

A four-bid Mountain West Conference

Okay although nothing is certain, especially when it comes to something like at-large bids. A “record” breaking big dance for the Mountain West is coming to fruition before our eyes. With three teams, still the ceiling to meet and beat at this point. The conference appears poised to hear four names called on Selection Sunday.

“The talent level, the overall size of the teams, the experience/age of a lot of the teams, and if you add all of those things together with the quality of coaching, you have a recipe for a multi-bid league.’’ said Jeff Linder on the quality of the Mountain West this season.

Now on February 10th, teams continue to sky rocket up KenPom and NET rankings by beating each other week in and week out, three teams in looks like a given. Our hope now is to see four Mountain West teams go dancing.

Here’s to FOUR tickets punched, finger crosse…no, let’s toast it into existence folks.

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.

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