Mountain West Tournament Championship Game: Preview, How To Watch, Prediction

Mountain West Tournament Championship Game: Preview, How To Watch, Prediction

Boise State

Mountain West Tournament Championship Game: Preview, How To Watch, Prediction

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Mountain West Tournament Championship Game: Preview, How To Watch, Prediction


The 2022 Mountain West Tourney has been an incredibly thrilling contest. Today we learn who will be the “Top of the Mountain.”


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Today’s finals match is going to be a closely-contested battle and an absolute must-watch.

Las Vegas, NV-  Today, the 2022 Air Force Reserve Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championship comes to an exciting conclusion.  Calling this year’s tournament “intense” would be a major understatement.

In the quarterfinals, all four matches were decided by a combined 14 points.  Three of the four matches came down to a final possession, including a buzzer beater win when Colorado State executed a last second cutover layup to best Utah State.

In the semifinals, the top four seeded teams faced each other.  #3 San Diego State (23-7, 13-4 MW) played #2 Colorado State, (25-5, 14-4) and #4 Wyoming (25-8, 13-5 MW) squared off against #1 Boise State (26-7, 15-3 MW).

The Aztecs and Broncos were victorious and now face off in this afternoon’s tournament finals match

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: San Diego State Aztecs (23-7, 13-4 MW) vs. Boise State Broncos (26-7, 15-3 MW)

WHEN: Saturday, March 12th – 6:00 PM EST / 3:00 PM PST

WHERE: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

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SERIES RECORD: This will be the the 27th meeting between these two schools. SDSU leads the series 17-9.  SDSU has won 6 of the last 8 matches, but lost the last two. SDSU is 4-0 against Boise State at Thomas & Mack.

LAST MATCHUP: Feb. 22, 2022- SDSU lost to Boise State 58-57, with Boise sweeping the season series.

ODDS:  San Diego State -2

OVER UNDER:  110

2021-2022 has definitely been Boise State’s season, and the Broncos are already an at-large lock for the 2022 NCAA Tournament.  Nonetheless, this championship surprisingly marks Leon Rice’s and Boise State’s first ever Mountain West men’s tournament finals.

Prior to Thursday’s game, Boise State was 0-3 all-time in semifinal contests. After defeating #4 seed Wyoming , 68-61, the Broncos now enter the 2022 Mountain West men’s basketball championship game.

San Diego State, on the other hand, advances to its fifth-straight Mountain West championship game.  The Aztecs defeated Utah State to win the 2021 championship, and they are the defending champions in 2022.  The Aztecs, have WON the Mountain West Tournament a record six times.

Also notable, the Aztecs are 4-0 against Boise State on a neutral court, and in all cases the neutral court has been the Thomas & Mack center.

Boise State has been highly dominant during the regular season, and after Friday’s semifinals win, Leon Rice commented on his team’s play suggesting they appeared to have six players on the court.  The Broncos are feeling unstoppable.

In their last match, Boise State  led wire-to-wire. The Broncos played balanced with four separate players scoring in double-digits, including a game-high 22 points from Abu Kigab. Kigab also had six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Boise State’s Naje SmithEmmanuel Akot and Mladen Armus also played huge roles in the win, all scoring in double digitts.  Armus was extremely dominant with a 16-point / 13-rebound double-double.

The Aztecs, on the other hand, had nine different players score throughout the game, showcasing their endless depth.  Scoring was led by Trey Pulliam’s team-high 11 points and six assists, while four other Aztecs scored at least eight points.  The Aztecs were arguably even more balanced in their play than Boise State.

Against Colorado State, the game’s difference maker came in rebounding. San Diego State out-rebounded the Rams 32-24, including 13 offensive boards, and the effort led to 15 second-chance points and 22 in the paint for the Aztecs.  The Aztecs appeared in control during the semifinals win.

In the finals match, look for both teams attempting to shut down each others’ strengths.  The Aztecs will try to stymie Boise State’s offense, and win the battle of the boards.  The Broncos will try to stop Matt Bradley, likely double or triple teaming him.  Look for Nathan Mensah and Mladen Armus to ferociously battle for rebounds, and much of this victory will come down to Leon Rice’s and Brian Dutcher’s abilities to adjust against one another.

Prediction:

Today’s finals match is going to be a closely-contested battle and an absolute must-watch.

The Broncos appear highly dominant, and they have thus far had SDSU’s number this season.

Nonetheless, the Aztecs do extremely well on neutral courts- especially at Thomas and Mack.  They will have a cooler hand, having been in this very Championship situation many times before.

Boise State is in new territory, and their excitement and nerves might force some errors.  In short: they might be overeager for the win.

This is a tough one.  The game could go either way, but post-season competition experience dictates that the Aztecs will have an advantage today, and may come away with the repeat victory.

Final Score: San Diego State 54,  Boise State 52

 

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