Which Mountain West basketball teams would make the tournament if the season ended today?

Which Mountain West basketball teams would make the tournament if the season ended today?

Which Mountain West basketball teams would make the tournament if the season ended today?

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Mountain West weekly look-ahead


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How many NCAA Tournament teams will the conference get in?

San Diego State:

CURRENT PROJECTION: Easily in the tournament
The Aztecs have pulled away from the pack in the Mountain West. SDSU is 4-0 in conference play with wins over UNLV, Wyoming and Air Force — and Matt Bradley scored 18+ in all three games. A star super senior, Bradley struggled to begin the season, averaging a career-low in scoring but seemingly snapped out of his scoring slump. The Aztecs are without question the team to beat in the Mountain West.

Nevada:

CURRENT PROJECTION: Bubble team
The conversation about the Wolf Pack’s at large hopes would look entirely different if Kansas State didn’t make a late push to beat the Pack in November. K-State has emerged as a legitimate top-end team in the sport — and Nevada hopes to start adding quality wins to its resume. The Pack are 14-3 and the guard duo of Kenan Blackshear & Jarod Lucas will aid the Pack in plenty of victories. A dazzling Q1 win opportunity awaits on Tuesday, when Nevada plays San Diego State in Viejas Arena. Beating SDSU puts Nevada on the right side of the bubble for the moment.

Air Force:

Current projection: No Postseason 

The Falcons STUNNED Colorado State in Fort Collins to start the week. Welcome to college, Marcell McCreary, a freshman guard who scored 22 points in the Colorado State victory, despite averaging only 3.3 points this season. The star is Sophomore Jake Heidbreder is the lone double digit scorer on the roster, averaging over 15.2 points per contest.

Fresno State:

Current projection: No postseason
Surely I didn’t see Fresno State — who lost to Sacramento State and Pacific handing New Mexico it’s first loss of the season, but welcome to college basketball! That’s how things go around these parts. The Bulldogs made shots when it mattered and completely rattled the Lobos offensive attack. The Bulldogs momentum didn’t carry further, losing two days later Colorado State by 22 points. The Bulldogs fell short against San Jose State and hope to rebuild against Air Force.

UNLV: 

Current projection: Bubble team

The Runnin Rebels rank top-60 in the KenPom and NET rankings — which is good enough to start talking about UNLV’s NCAA Tournament hopes. The win over New Mexico provided UNLV with a needed Q1 victory. UNLV’s tenacious defensive is the catalyst for the 12-3 start, but offense carried the way in the 84-77 win over UNM. Can the offense continue to shine or was the 84 point outburst a flash in the pan? We’ll find out as UNLV hosts Colorado State and Boise State this week.

New Mexico:

Current projection: Bubble team, but in the field.

The Lobos fell prey to the newly-ranked in the AP Poll curse, losing to Fresno State and UNLV this week. The loss to Fresno State sits in the less-than-desirable quadrant three columns. To make the NCAA Tournament, New Mexico can ill-afford losses outside the first two quadrants. An opportunity to avenge the loss comes at San Diego State on Saturday — a loss would be three straight for the Lobos.

Wyoming:

Current projection: No postseason
Wow, a once promising season in Laramie is one to completely forget due to countless injuries. It started with Graham Ike, then it slowly got worse. Cowboys top-scorer Noah Reynolds and Ike backup Hunter Thompson are the most recent cowboys absentee starters. The Cowboys could go on a miracle Mountain West tournament run if Ike returns, but at some point he could opt to redshirt instead of returning this season.

Fresno State:

Current projection: No postseason

Hand up, calling Fresno State the worst team in the conference about one hour prior to beating New Mexico isn’t my finest moment. The Bulldogs finally showed some liveliness offensively, scoring 71 points against the Lobos. Fresno has one of the top defenses in the conference but the lack of offense will limit its amount of conference victories. The first matchup of the week comes against a surging San Jose State team followed by Air Force heading to Cali on Saturday.

Colorado State:

Current projection: No postseason
YIKES, Colorado State. As if losing to Northern Colorado at home isn’t bad enough, losing to Air Force might just atop the list for worse CSU loss. Isaiah Stevens went 6-21 from the field and scored just 17 points. It’s looking like a dive back to earth season for the Rams after making the NCAA tournament one season ago.

Utah State

Current projection: Bubble team, but inside the field.
Utah Stage had a smooth transition from Craig Smith to Ryan Odom, the latter has Utah State on track to make its first NCAA Tourney in Odom’s time in Logan. The Aggies have some good and bad right now: Steven Ashworth is possibly the best guard in the conference, averaging 16.2 points and shooting 50 percent from deep. The bad? Taylor Funk has scored single digit points in three of the last seven games. Funk looked like a shoo-in all leaguer in the first month but the trip to Hawaii over Christmas has seemingly slowed down the Funk.


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