Mountain West Tournament: (7) Utah State Vs. (10) Air Force
Falcons vs. Aggies in Las Vegas
Who you got?
There isn’t a ton riding on Utah State/Air Force, considering neither will make the NCAA Tournament barring a miracle run to the champ game. It’s more likely Utah State makes a run over Air Force, but we’ll see what happens. The winner of the 7/10 matchup meets Colorado State in the second round.
The matchup: (7) Utah State Vs. (10) Air Force
Spread: Utah State -14.5
Stream: MW Website
The two split the series this season, winning on their homecourts. The Aggies had a horrendous offensive game in Colorado Springs but destroyed Air Force the second time around in Logan. Utah State has way too much offense, which the Falcons can’t keep up with. They play a deliberate tempo and want to keep the game in the 60 range or lower, which Utah State wants to do the exact opposite. Who knows what happens next year, but it could be Justin Bean’s final ride in Logan — uses the COVID extra year. From starting his career walking on to receiving Mountain West’s first recognition in his final season while leading his team to an NCAA Tournament bid is something of story tales.
It could also be the final game of A.J. Walker’s Air Force career, averaging 14.6 points in his potential final year of school. They’ll need all the points from Walker in order to advance, but contributions from Ethan Taylor and Jake Heidbreder would make the job easier. It’ll be relatively easy to tell early on which way the game will go. If Joe Scott makes the game a slower-paced game, it’s not inconceivable to see Air Force win.
Utah State 75
Air Force 56
I just can’t see Utah State struggle scoring-wise, and there’s too many offensive options inside and out, both forwards can beat you from three or inside while shooters Steven Ashworth and Brock Miller spread around the perimeter. The winner has their hands full against Colorado State.