• The league will likely be eating itself alive with impending upsets and bad losses –
The Mountain West as a men’s basketball conference looks to be as tough as a two-dollar steak as we get to the meat of the schedule. Six teams are at putting together good enough resumes to be selected into the NCAA Tournament. At any given time over the past three weeks, three programs have been ranked in the Top-25 polls with three more receiving votes.
And as the league looks to continue to grow from a league of 1-3 bids to one of four-plus, the games are getting more intense, the venues more distracting and the chances of being snubbed increased.
In other words, buckle up for a crazy stretch to the MWC Tournament. Here’s what we know.
Utah State, San Diego State, Boise State, New Mexico, Nevada and colorado state are all ranked in the top 60 by KenPom, the go-to power ranking system. All of those teams with the exception of Boise State have at least 14 wins as of today, January 18.
What we also know is that the teams we are not talking about, UNLV, Wyoming, Fresno State, San Jose State and Air Force, can defeat any of those others on their home court on any given day. Both the Spartans and the Falcons had both the Aztecs and Rams on the ropes in recent days. UNLV was up four points with eight seconds left against the Aggies last week until a big three-pointer and a very questionable foul away from the basket gave Utah State a five-point play to win the game. Karma evened things out the next game as the Lobos snapped USU’s 15-game winning streak by thumping them 99-86 in The Pit.
That’s the other factor. The MWC home court advantages are for real.
All of those six teams battling for the top spot have next-level support, the kind needed for a tournament run. But even teams like the Rebels and Cowboys, who are in a bit of a rebuild, have enough pride to pull upsets. Then there’s the familiarity of play. The Falcons had no business being in the game against colorado state but it still took overtime to get rid of them this past week.
If you’re one of those prone to gamble, especially now that it’s so much easier to do so, my advice would be this: Be cautious. Nothing is for sure in this league over the next six weeks.