Why Fresno State Will Win The Mountain West Tournament
Can the Bulldogs win it all?
Fresno State does have Orlando Robinson
The Fresno State Bulldogs finished the regular season (18-12 8-9 in MW play). Now the Bulldogs are the sixth seed in the Mountain West Tournament and will face the 11th seed San Jose State Spartans in the first round. Currently, the Bulldogs would most likely have to make a deep run in the conference tournament for a NIT bid and would have to win the tournament to go to the big dance. So how can the Bulldogs be a bid stealer?
The All First Team Mountain West Orlando Robinson has been one of the most exciting players to watch this season. The Junior Forward is fourth in the conference in scoring and rebounding at 19.2ppg and 8.2rpg. Robinson can score from all over the floor and is one of the best shot blockers in the conference. He is the anchor of the Bulldogs offense. If Robinson can build on from his last game against Wyoming and gets some offensive help the Bulldogs can make a run. These could be the final games for Orlando Robinson in a Bulldogs Uniform and nothing would be sweeter than a trip to the big dance.
The Heart and Soul of this team is the Bulldog’s defense with being second in the conference and third in the nation in scoring defense. Also one of the best rebounding teams in the conference. Defensively the Bulldogs can do it all – force turnovers and run the break, led by Anthony Holland who will guard anyone and has great size and is a very physical player.
Holland has the third most steals on the team. The Bulldogs also can clog up the middle with two seven footers in Orlando Robinson and Braxton Meah. The Bulldogs have speed, size, athleticism, and the ability to play with a lot of energy on the defensive side. Only two teams all season have scored more than 70 points on the Bulldogs. The Dogs have also held 5 opponents to 45 points or less. The Bulldogs will need to bring that same effort and energy to Vegas.
From a great defense to a sluggish offense, if the Bulldogs are going to pull any upset or make a run, somebody outside of Orlando Robinson has to step up. We have seen Jordan Campbell, Anthony Holland, and Isaiah Hill switch around being the number two scorer but haven’t been consistent. If the Bulldogs can find some scoring and shot making that will open up the floor for Robinson and give a lot more opportunities for one on one. The Dogs have to avoid the long scoring droughts! We have seen Isaiah Hill and Holland get hot for stretches of games this season. Can they bring that to Vegas?
Can the Bulldogs win a Close One?
The last two games of the season the Bulldogs dropped heartbreakers to San Diego State and Wyoming. The Dogs hurt themselves in both games committing silly fouls, missed free throws, and poor shot selections. In fact, nine of the twelve losses this season the Bulldogs lost by single digits. Also, the Bulldogs had tied the game or had a lead in the second half in nine of the twelve losses.
Five of the single digits losses are against the four of the top five teams in the Mountain West Tournament. Four of them went to overtime. The Bulldogs have shown they can play and hang with the top teams in the conference. The question is – can someone step up and provide scoring down the stretch when the game is on the line? Can the Bulldogs close one out?