Mountain West Has A Basketball Problem

The Mountain West might have a problem This year, after an impressive outing in which the Mountain West went 91-40 in non-conference play the league was rewarded with four coveted bids to the NCAA tournament. It was the first time since the 2011-12 …

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The Mountain West might have a problem

This year, after an impressive outing in which the Mountain West went 91-40 in non-conference play the league was rewarded with four coveted bids to the NCAA tournament. It was the first time since the 2011-12 season that the league sent four teams to the big dance. The bids came at a great time for the conference. Ever since the Mountain West peaked at five bids in 2012-13, the league has been trending downwards even suffering back-to-back seasons with a singular bid. Despite this decline, the conference has, for the most part, maintained status as a multi-bid league in recent years, although the most it has received under the current lineup of schools is three, when it did so just once in 2014-15, just a season after arriving adding three newcomers and arriving at the current selection.

The last time four bids were offered to the Mountain West, those four schools represented half of the eight-team conference, and ever since then, the Mountain West has been trying to once again reach that level of success.

Not only did the committee see it fit to send four bids to the league, however, the Mountain West was also the favorable seen in nearly every game. The conference was at one point flirting with the possibility of becoming a five-bid league but ultimately landed on four on Selection Sunday.

The 12-seeded Wyoming was set to play against 12-seed Indiana in the first four for the chance to play 5-seed Saint Mary’s in the round of 64. Then 6-seed Colorado State was matched up against 11-seed Michigan, 8-seed San Diego State was slated for a game against 9-seed Creighton, and the 8-seed Boise State Broncos would face 9-seed Memphis.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about these four bids was the fact that not one of them went to perennial powerhouses UNLV or New Mexico. Utah State, after having won two of the three previous championships also failed to earn a bid as did the Nevada Wolfpack, a program becoming very familiar with the top of the Mountain West in recent years. Certainly, it seemed that the Mountain West was once again fully loaded and ready to make a name for itself. With new teams finding momentum and success rising up alongside, and sometimes surpassing, storied and historic programs, the Mountain West seemed stronger than ever.

Selection Sunday was arguably one of the best moments in recent history for the conference. It was a culmination of the years of hard work from hundreds of student-athletes and coaches. It was an acknowledgment that, as many fans know, the Mountain West is indeed a premier basketball conference. It was a realization of the return of investment these programs have put into their basketball teams over the years and decades. Even the seven teams at home could take solace in the fact that the top teams were pushed to new heights by the rest of the conference and could take pride in the fact that theirs was one of the most well-represented conference and the best represented conference of mid-majors.

This elation didn’t last. Within just a few days after the names of four Mountain West teams were called, the league was completely eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

It may have been shocking to the fans players and coaches of the Mountain West, but the truth is, this failure wasn’t entirely unpredictable.

Big Cat, host of a popular Barstool Sports podcast Pardon My Take said:

“No Mountain west team has done anything… time and time again the mountain west gets in and doesn’t do anything.” ESPN’s BPI listed all four Mountain West teams as over-seeded. Additionally, according to Insider, Michigan beating Colorado State was the number one upset picked with over 55% of people predicting the Wolverine’s win over the Rams.

The Mountain West was unique in its lack of success. The Mountain West was the only multi-bid league that failed to win a single game. The conference was the only to send four. The West Coast Conference and the PAC-12 both sent three, but both had at least one victory. Something the mountain west failed to do with an additional team. The Big East, Big 12 and SEC all sent six and the ACC sent five. All four of this conference won at least a game. The single-bid WAC got an upset win as 12-seed New Mexico beat 5-seed UConn before falling to Eric Musselman’s 4-seed Arkansas. The single-bid Ohio Valley Conference sent 7-seed Murray State into the round of 32, where they lost to another team from a single-bid league, The 15-seed Saint Peter’s Peacocks, from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, who propelled themselves all the way to the Elite 8.

This means that the Mountain West was not only vastly outperformed by its multi-bid peers, it was lapped by single-bid leagues. The Metro Atlantic Athletic went 3-1. The Ohio Valley went 1-1. The WAC went 1-1. The Mountain West went 0-4

To be fair, the conference drew a tough slate. Two Big 10 and a Big East matchup made for a difficult path to victory, although that’s hardly and excuse for going 0-4. The league’s performance was particularly upsetting because of the respect that the committee had shown the teams in the tournament. Wyoming, as an 12-seed, was bounced by a fellow 12-seed, but other than that, every team in the league lost in an upset.

This is not an anomaly, unfortunately. Rather this is becoming something of a pattern in the Mountain West. The conference is now 1-11 in the first round since 2016. Three of those eleven losses in upsets.

The last team to traverse beyond the round of 64 was Nevada, when the Wolfpack lost in the Sweet 16 in 2018. That same year, San Diego State was bounced in the first round. Since arriving at the current lineup of schools, the Mountain West has amassed a NCAA tournament record of only 5-17 and sent just three teams beyond the round of 64. In addition to Nevada in 2018, San Diego State lost in the sweet 16 in 2014 and round of 32 in 2015.

This year, the Final Four consisted of the Big East, Big 12 and two teams from the ACC. In the title game, the Big 12 bested the ACC for the crown. While the Mountain West’s Final Four and championship game aspirations are admittedly lofty, even lesser goals are starting to seem equally out of reach for the conference.

In addition to being swept out of the NCAA tournament, Utah State lost in the first round of the NIT. The only post-season victories this year came at the hand of Fresno State in the Basketball Classic, meaning out of six teams from the conference that were invited to play post season basketball, only one found a way to win.

Fresno State not only found a way to win a game, however, the Bulldogs were named the Champions of the Basketball Classic after beating Eastern Washington, Youngstown State, Southern Utah, and Coastal Carolina. This post-season run was certainly uncharacteristic for the conference, and even though it didn’t happen in Big Dance Fresno State certainly does deserve credit for becoming the one out of six teams across three tournaments to have any success. Even with Fresno State’s impressive championship run however, the entire postseason record for the conference remains 4-5. Going 0-4 in the NCAA Tournament, 0-1 in the NIT and having an overall losing postseason record even after the Bulldogs win four straight for a Basketball Classic championship is not going to cut it for a conference that would like to continue to earn at-large bids.

The league’s inability to win postseason games could become a major problem for the conference. If the mountain west can’t figure out a way to consistently send teams beyond the first two rounds, it could risk losing some of the at-large bids that were given to the conference this year.

The Mountain West certainly earned the respect of the selection committee in 2022, but if the conference wants to keep that respect, it needs to start winning games. Going 0-6 in the past three tournaments, the conference is not putting together a compelling case to keep earning at-large bids.

Preparation for next march has already begun. For teams like Fresno State, Nevada, and Utah State, the expectation is to improve and find their way into the tournament. For teams like UNLV and New Mexico, the mandate is to return to their former heights, with ceilings as high as nearly any team in the country. Of course, for the Aztecs, Broncos, Cowboys, and Rams, the goal is not only to return but to advance beyond the round of 64.

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Wyoming Lands Three Pac-12 Transfers

Cowboys Sign 3 PAC-12 Transfers to Bolster Roster Contact/Follow @Bangle94 & @MWCwire Jeff Linder brings in 3 PAC-12 Transfers to put the LA in (LA)ramie. Fresh off of receiving a new contract Jeff Linder went to work, improving a Wyoming team that …

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Cowboys Sign 3 PAC-12 Transfers to Bolster Roster


Contact/Follow @Bangle94 & @MWCwire

Jeff Linder brings in 3 PAC-12 Transfers to put the LA in (LA)ramie.

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Fresh off of receiving a new contract Jeff Linder went to work, improving a Wyoming team that made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Larry Shyatt led the Cowboys there in 2015. After losing several players to the transfer portal Jeff Linder got commitments from three PAC-12 players and drastically changed the Offseason for the Cowboys.

After a surprise run to the NCAA tournament, the Wyoming Cowboys faced a lot of uncertainty about the future of the Basketball program as the season came to a close. How would the Cowboys be affected by the transfer portal? Would Hunter Maldonado and Drake Jeffries return for one more year? What about Jeff Linder? Would the coach that turned the program around in two years return to Laramie? One by one those answers started to come. Four players entered the Transfer Portal: John Grigsby, Deng Dut, Ben Bowen, and Eoin Nelson.

Wyoming will almost be a Pac-12 basketball team in 2023: 2 Trojans, 1 UCLA Bruin

Drake Jeffries announced that he would not be returning to the Cowboys in order to pursue a professional career in basketball. Hunter Maldonado announced that he would go through the NBA Evaluation process, and retain his last year of eligibility. Jeff Linder signed a new contract for a significant pay raise making him the head coach for the Cowboys until 2027. Fresh off of his new contract Jeff Linder hit the recruiting trail and pulled off arguably one of the best transfer hauls in all of college basketball this weekend.

On Friday, April 8th Ethan Anderson (USC), Max Agbonkpolo (USC), and Jake Kyman (UCLA) visited Laramie. Ethan Anderson posted on his social media stories a video of him outside of the Arena-Auditorium, and within an hour Jeff Linder and his tweeted out:

Within the hour Ethan Anderson posted this:

The Wyoming sphere on Twitter was buzzing. Ethan Anderson filled a big need for the Cowboys going into next year at the point and will take a huge load off of Hunter Maldonado if he decides to return. Optimism going into next year was starting to simmer when Jeff Linder and his Staff took to Twitter again:

Within the next hour Max Agbonkpolo posted this to his Instagram account:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CcIuS1-OJys/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Agbonkpolo and Anderson both bring tremendous athleticism and defensive prowess to the Cowboys, as well as Chemistry they have built over several years as teammates. The Buzz around Cowboy Basketball began to roar as the night came to an end. Jeff Linder, however, had one more trick (or player) up his sleeve and come Saturday Morning he and his staff took to Twitter again:

Shortly thereafter Jake Kyman tweeted this out

In less than 24 hours Jeff Linder got three players to leave the sun and beaches of Los Angeles for the High Plains of Laramie. Anderson, Agbonkpolo, and Kyman all figure to contribute for the Cowboys immediately next year, and the depth that they provide will help to push the Cowboys to the next level. College Basketball writers across the country are taking notice too, not just those who follow the Cowboys:

Wyoming Basketball and Jeff Linder aren’t sleeping on their laurels going into next season. Jeff Linder and his staff are positioning the Cowboys as potential conference favorites, and setting up for a potentially deep post season run.

Time will tell, but it certainly seems that Jeff Linder is earning every bit of his new contract.

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Way Too Early 2022-23 College Basketball Rankings

Way Too Early 2022-23 College Basketball Rankings What is in store for Mountain West hoops next year? Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Where do MW teams rank next year? The 2021-22 Mountain West basketball season was very fun, frustrating, …

Way Too Early 2022-23 College Basketball Rankings


What is in store for Mountain West hoops next year?


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Where do MW teams rank next year?

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The 2021-22 Mountain West basketball season was very fun, frustrating, exciting, and disappointing. Four teams made the NCAA Tournament which was great, but they all fell in the first round so that was disappointing. Fresno State made a deep run and won The College Basketball Tournament, but Utah State lost at home to Oregon in the NIT.

The season was up and down, which is nice.

With the national title game in the rear-view mirror and every major outlet putting out their first look at the top 25.

These will be changes with players going pro, transferring, and just testing the NBA waters and be returning to school.

In addition to the way-too-early top 25 rankings, we also take a look the early betting odds for the Mountain West. These are always a great value bet to place a few bucks in hopes of hitting it big.

Below are where the Mountain West teams are ranked or not ranked and a blurb from each outlet.

Heat Check CBB

25. San Diego State Aztecs

Projected 2022-23 lineup: Lamont ButlerAdam SeikoMatt BradleyKeshad JohnsonJaedon Ledee

Although the team has a pair of returning seniors, its success will hinge on Lamont Butler’s ability to succeed as the primary point guard with the departure of Trey Pulliam.

23. Colorado State Rams

Projected 2022-23 lineup: Isaiah StevensKendle MooreJohn TonjeDavid RoddyJames Moors

The biggest question facing Colorado State this spring is whether Heat Check CBB Third Team All-American forward David Roddy returns to campus. Assuming he does, the Rams have another team that should flirt with Top 25 publicity.

NCAA.com’s Andy Katz

23. San Diego State

The Aztecs are the most consistent program in the state of California and will be steered by Matt Bradley again — the Mountain West newcomer of the year. Lamont Butler and Keshad Johnson along with the possibility of Nathan Mensah back means the Aztecs will have the defensive ability to lock down again.

36. Wyoming

There is a chance Hunter Maldonado comes back. He will test the NBA draft process. If he comes back then the Pokes could be a Mountain West title contender again.

ESPN

The World Wide Leader shuts out the Mountain West in its top 25 but even the next five considered are not from the conference.

USA TODAY

25. Colorado State

Assuming the Rams bring back David Roddy (19.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg), they’ll be positioned to out-duel San Diego State in the Mountain West and stay in the national equation.

Sporting News

Another publication that is not a fan of the Mountain West and has zero teams in their early rankings.

CBS Sports

20. Colorado State

The Rams’ ranking is based on Colorado State’s top four scorers returning – among them Mountain West Conference Play of the Year David Roddy, who has declared for the NBA Draft but could return to school considering there’s no guarantee he’d be selected.

Busting Brackets

Honorable Mention: San Diego State Aztecs

With the news that 17 ppg scoring guard Matt Bradley is coming back, that automatically makes the Aztecs a contender in the Mountain West for next season.

No. 21 Colorado State

The Rams proved to be the one mid-major team not named Gonzaga that played up to expectations, getting a 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Junior forward David Roddy (19.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.9 apg) won Mountain West Player of the Year and is currently testing the NBA Draft waters, but odds are decent that he’ll come back for one more year.

If that happens, the duo of Roddy and Isaiah Stevens (14.7 ppg and 4.7 rpg) will once again have them in the top-25 range. And most of the supporting cast is set to return, including guard Kendle Moore, forward James Moor, and John Tonje, the team’s third-leading scorer from this year at 9.1 ppg.

Odds for the 2023 NCAA Tournament have opened and as far as Mountain West teams, San Diego State leads the list at +8000. Majority, if not all, of the US sportsbooks will have odds available for the tournament. Keep in mind that depending on the site, the odds will vary for each MW team so browse through each one to find the best value if you intend to get bets in this early.


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SP+ Predicts Nevada’s 2022 Football Schedule

SP+ Predicts Nevada’s 2022 Football Schedule Ken Wilson might struggle in year one. Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire What will the win total be for the Wolf Pack? Nevada has a new head coach in Ken Wilson and him coming from Oregon and back to …

SP+ Predicts Nevada’s 2022 Football Schedule


Ken Wilson might struggle in year one.


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

What will the win total be for the Wolf Pack?

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Nevada has a new head coach in Ken Wilson and him coming from Oregon and back to Reno, will be a bit of a shock. The Wolf Pack lost a lot of talent to the portal with quite a few following Jay Norvel who is now the head coach at Colorado State.

Wilson will need a while to get his feet settled and it could take a few years.

An Early Preview At The 2022 Nevada Football Schedule

Bill Connelly’s first edition of SP+ recently came out with its first edition of where teams are ranked heading into the 2022 season. Now we will use those numbers to predict the record of each Mountain West school, and then determine who is expected to be the very early champion.

Nevada’s SP+ starts out as 120th and their projected record is 3-9.

Aug 27th: at New Mexico State (SP+: 131 | WIN)

September 3rd: vs. Texas State (SP+: 118 | LOSS)

September 10th: vs. Incarnate Word (SP+: N/A | WIN)

September 17th: @ Iowa (SP+: 26 | LOSS)

September 24th @ Air Force (SP+: 65 | LOSS)

October 8th:  vs. Colorado State (SP+: 86 | LOSS)

October 15th:  @ Hawaii (SP+: 122 | WIN)

October 22nd:  vs San Diego State (SP+: 67 | LOSS)

October 29th:  @ San Jose State (SP+: 96 | LOSS)

November 5th: BYE

November 12th: vs. Boise State (SP+: 43 | LOSS)

November 19th: vs Fresno State (SP+: 39 | LOSS)

November 26th:  @  UNLV (SP+: 109 | LOSS)


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The Basketball Classic: Fresno State vs. Coastal Carolina Play For Title

The Basketball Classic: Fresno State vs. Coastal Carolina Play For Title Bulldogs looking to claim a title Contact/Follow @MWCwire Who cares it took an extra day Who: Fresno State (22-13) Vs Coastal Carolina (19-13) When: Friday April 1, 3:00PM PT …

The Basketball Classic: Fresno State vs. Coastal Carolina Play For Title


Bulldogs looking to claim a title


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

Who cares it took an extra day

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Who: Fresno State (22-13) Vs Coastal Carolina (19-13)

When: Friday April 1, 3:00PM PT

Where: Conway, S.C.

TV: ESPN+

Series Record: First meeting between these schools

The CIT Championship is here at the HTC Center in Conway, S.C! The Fresno State Bulldogs are coming off of a blowout win over Southern Utah in the Semifinals. The Chanticleer of Coastal Carolina are coming off a buzzer beating win over South Alabama. These two programs are meeting for the first time in school history for The Basketball Classic Championship.

Keys to the Game: Coastal Carolina

The Chanticleer are playing in a postseason championship game for the second straight year and are looking to be the first Sun Belt to win a postseason championship. Coastal Carolina is led by Senior Guard, Rudi Williams who is putting up 19.7ppg and shooting 60% from the field in the tournament. Chanticleer also has Senior Guard Vince Cole who is averaging 15.3 ppg in this tournament.

If Coastal Carolina wants to bring home the championship, it will start on the defensive side of the ball and find a way to slow down Orlando Robinson. They also have to get the ball out of Robinson’s hands. Secondly, control the tempo and win the transition game. Offensively Coastal Carolina has to limit turnovers and find ways to score inside the paint. Chanticleer can hit shots but the Bulldogs defense is one of the best in the nation. Coastal Carolina has to find multiple ways to score to stretch out the Bulldogs defense. 

Keys to the Game: Fresno State

Fresno State is looking for its first postseason title since the 1983 NIT. Many people believe this year’s squad was a NIT caliber team. After not being selected into the NIT, the Bulldogs have an opportunity to show everyone why they should have been in the tournament.

Fresno State is led by Junior Forward Orlando Robinson who is averaving 19.4ppg and 8.2rpg. This could be Robinson’s last game as a Bulldog as some reports have indicated Robinson will be Declaring for 2022 NBA Draft. The Bulldogs also have Junior Guard Isaiah Hill who is putting up 10.1ppg. If Fresno State is going to capture its first postseason title since 1983, it will start with the defense. The Bulldogs did a great job against Southern Utah defensive holding them to under 50 points and will need to do more of the same tonight. The Bulldogs have to contain Coastal Carolina backcourt. Offensively the Bulldogs need to keep getting consistent bench production. Donavan Yap and Destin Whitaker have both been a great boost offensively off the bench. Lastly, hitting shots. The Bulldogs shot 52% from three and went an overall 11-21 from the perimeter. This helped Robinson see less double teams and let him go 1 on 1 inside the post.

This is one of the four final games left in this year’s College Basketball season. Can the Chanticleer of Coastal Carolina capture their and the Sun Belt conference its first postseason championship? Or will the Bulldogs of Fresno State overcome its up and down season and get its first postseason title since 1983? 


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The College Basketball Tournament: Fresno State vs. Youngstown State

The College Basketball Tournament: Fresno State vs. Youngstown State Postseason play continues for the Bulldogs Contact/Follow @MWCwire Fresno State at home Who: Youngstown State (19-14) Vs Fresno State (20-13) When: Wednesday, March 23rd, 7:00 p.m. …

The College Basketball Tournament: Fresno State vs. Youngstown State


Postseason play continues for the Bulldogs


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

Fresno State at home

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Who: Youngstown State (19-14) Vs Fresno State (20-13)

When: Wednesday, March 23rd, 7:00 p.m. PT 

Where: SaveMart; Fresno, California

TV: ESPN+

Odds: Fresno State -13.5

Series Record: First Meeting

The Basketball Classic is onto the Quarterfinals stage. The Youngstown State Penguins come into the Save Mart Center to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs. Both teams are coming off wins and are meeting for the first time in program history for a spot in the semifinals. 

Keys To The Game:  Youngstown State

For the Penguins this is their first Division 1 postseason road game and are looking for their second, 20 win season since becoming a Division 1 program.  The Penguins are led by Junior Guard, Dwayne Cohill who is averaging 14.6ppg and shooting 45% from the field. Cohill is coming off a 28 point game. Another player to watch is Senior Forward, Michael Akuchie with 13.6ppg and 7.8rpg, a contest.

If the Penguins are looking to move on, they have to start on the defensive side of the ball with limiting the inside shots. The Bulldogs scored 38 points inside the paint; the Penguins have to limit that and make the Bulldogs win by shooting the ball which they have struggled to do most of the season. Next, they must limit the Transition baskets. Fresno State did a great job pushing the ball up the court and getting easy transition baskets against Eastern Washington.

Youngstown State needs to control the tempo and make the Dogs beat them with their half-court offense. Finally, turnovers: the Bulldogs did a great job on the defensive side and forced 17 turnovers last game. The Penguins have to limit the turnovers and stretch the Bulldogs defense. 

Keys to the Game: Fresno State

The Bulldogs may have had their best offensive performance all season against Eastern Washington. The Bulldogs put up 83 points and got their first win of the season when they allowed 70 points or more. Fresno State also got a bit of a lift from its bench with 24 bench points and four players in double figures. One of those double figure scorers was Junior Forward, Anthony Holland who had a team high of 18 points with 8 rebounds. Deon Stroud also may have had his best performance in quite a while.

Stroud finished with 13 points and a SportsCenter top 10 dunk.  Now the Bulldogs look to take it another step closer to a championship. If the Bulldogs played the way they did last time, they will be a tough team to knock out. That starts with Orlando Robinson getting help offensively. The Bulldogs need to keep getting production from Holland, Stroud, and Colimerio like they did last game. Another Key component will be fastbreak points. Fresno State was out and running, pushing the ball up the court and getting easy baskets.

Staying away from the half court offense really helped the Bulldogs. Defensively the Bulldogs do a great job creating turnovers but have to limit the threes. The Bulldogs allowed 12 threes and the Penguins shot about 22 threes a game. If the Bulldogs can limit the premier shots and control this game, they will have a really good shot at moving onto the semifinals. 

It’s the first meeting between these two schools. A spot for the Semifinals is on the line. Will the Penguins of Youngstown State get their first division 1 postseason road win? Can the Bulldogs put together another great offensive performance?  The winner takes a step closer to The Basketball Classic Championship. 


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Mountain West Disappoints In NCAA Tournament, Again

Mountain West Disappoints In NCAA Tournament, Again Four bid league goes winless Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Out before the first day ended Fine! We will talk about the terrible NCAA Tournament performance from the Mountain West. There …

Mountain West Disappoints In NCAA Tournament, Again


Four bid league goes winless


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Out before the first day ended

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Fine! We will talk about the terrible NCAA Tournament performance from the Mountain West.

There will be more said about what happened to the Mountain West this year in the NCAA tournament, but for now, the league had yet another disappointing season with all four teams being knocked out before all the games ended on Thursday.

This tweet sums it up pretty well.

For some reason, the Mountain West has historically struggled in the Big Dance ever since the league was established over 20 years ago.

The conference itself has not played well and is just 5-17 in NCAA Tournament play with the current state of the 11 teams within the league.

So… not good.

Below is how the league fared since 2014 and the league has not won a game since 2018 which saw Nevada make a deep NCAA Tournament run. That team was extremely close to going to the Elite Eight but they fail to Loyola-Chicago.

2020 could have been a special year because San Diego State likely would have been a two seed, so things are skewed with the overall results. That Aztecs team would have been the best chance for a Mountain West team to make a legitimate Final Four run.

Before they fell to Utah State in the conference title game, there was some talk of them being a No. 1 seed as they were sixth in KenPom after the loss.

2014: 2-2 (SDSU advances to Sweet 16; New Mexico loses in first round)
2015: 1-3 (SDSU advances to second round; Boise State loses in First Four; Wyoming loses in first round)
2016: 0-1 (Fresno State loses in first round)
2017: 0-1 (Nevada loses in first round)
2018: 2-2 (Nevada advances to Sweet 16; SDSU loses in first round)
2019: 0-2 (Nevada and Utah State lose in first round)
2020: 0-0 (no tournament due to COVID-19)
2021: 0-2 (SDSU and Utah State lose in first round)
2022: 0-4 (Wyoming loses in First Four; SDSU, Boise State, Colorado State lose in first round)

This four-bid league this year showed promise but also seeding didn’t help. Wyoming was in the opening round game and with San Diego State and Boise State on the 8/9 seed line is basically a toss-up. As for Colorado State, the Rams had the best chance, at least according to the seed line to get a win.

However, when you dig a bit deeper there are some other reasons for why the league struggled.

In the preseason, both Michigan and Memphis were considered fringe-national title contenders. The Wolverines were No. 6 in the preseason rankings; while the Tigers were 12th and 16th in both major polls.

Injuries and other things happened to both teams and their regular season did not live up to their preseason expectations, but the tournament allowed for a second season, and those two are still in the tournament.

Now, Michigan and Memphis seem to be more healthy and took care of business.

Boise State might have been under-seeded by some as they were a double-champion within the Mountain West but their bad loss against a Q4 Cal State Bakersfield didn’t help their cause. Neither did losing to another Big West team in UC Irvine.

It is not just one thing because this is a long-term trend within the conference basically since its inception.

The defense of these teams also could be a reason for the struggles. Boise State and San Diego State came into the tournament ranked 21st and 3rd in adjusted defense per KenPom.

That is an issue because heading into the tournament, there are better offensive teams and if the defense shows any leaks there are issues. The Aztecs had a double-digit lead vs. Creighton, and the Broncos just fell behind early and could not catch up to Memphis.

On the offensive side of efficiency rating at KenPom, neither was great. San Diego State ended up 166 and Boise State was 85.

This doesn’t jive for Colorado State who had a double-digit lead and just collapsed in the second half vs. Michigan.

2022 Basketball Classic: Eastern Washington Vs Fresno State Preview, How To Watch & More

2022 Basketball Classic: Eastern Washington Vs Fresno State Preview, How To Watch & More Fresno State gets to keep playing. Contact/Follow @MWCwire Post season play!! Who: Eastern Washington (18-15) Vs Fresno State (19-13) When: Thursday, March …

2022 Basketball Classic: Eastern Washington Vs Fresno State Preview, How To Watch & More


Fresno State gets to keep playing.


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

Post season play!!

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Who: Eastern Washington (18-15) Vs Fresno State (19-13)
When: Thursday, March 17th, 7:00 p.m. PT
Where: Fresno, CA 
TV: ESPN+
Odds: Fresno State -13
Series Record: Fresno State leads 2-1

The Fresno State Bulldogs missed out on the NIT after losing to the San Diego State Aztecs in the Mountain West Tournament.  The Bulldogs did get an invite to the Basketball Classic, a single elimination tournament.  The Basketball Classic is a field of 32 teams but only 21 teams accepted the invite. Matchups are announced after each game. The tournament will go on until March 31st which is the day of the championship game.

Keys to the Game: Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington is coming off a one point loss in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky tournament.  A year after making the Ncaa tournament the Eagles finished this season 18-15 and was the 6th seed in the Big Sky Tournament. Now the Eagles look to make a run in the Basketball Classic. Freshman Guard Steele Venters leads the Eagles in scoring at 16.6ppg. Eastern Washington is a great offensive team averaging nearly 77.0 ppg and shooting 45% from the field. Offensively for the Eagles,

they have to limit the turnovers and hit shots behind the arc. The Eagles average eight threes a game and stretching the Bulldogs defensive will be a big key. Defensively Eastern Washington have struggled all year giving up 74.3ppg. Lucky for the Eagles the Bulldogs have struggled on offense lately but they will have their hands full with Orlando Robinson.  If the Eagles want to leave the Save Mart Center with a win they have to play better defensively. That starts by limiting the inside shots and forcing the Bulldogs to shoot the ball. Fresno State shot 9-41 from three in the Mountain West Tournament. 

Keys to the Game: Fresno State

The Bulldogs are disappointed after missing out in the NIT. But the Bulldogs got an opportunity to play postseason basketball. The question remains the same: will these be Orlando Robinson’s last games as a Bulldog? If they are, Orlando Robinson has a chance to go out as a champion. If the Bulldogs are looking to extend their season it will start on the offensive side of the ball.

The Bulldogs struggled offensively in the Mountain West Tournament. The Dogs have to make shots. Anthony Holland, one of the Bulldogs best three point shooters didn’t make a single three in the MW tournament. Eastern Washington isn’t a great defensive team so stretching out the offense will be huge for the Bulldogs, Especially if they want to control the inside and keep the double teams off Robinson.

Defensively for the Bulldogs, they have been great all season. Limiting the three point shots and slowing down the tempo will be a big key to success. The Eagles can shoot the ball and the Bulldogs can’t match that offensive firepower.  The Bulldogs have to make the Eagles play inside and have to win the transition game.

Could this be Orlando Robinson’s last game at the Save Mart Center? Will Eastern Washington Offense be too much for the Bulldogs? Can Fresno State overcome its offensive struggles and a run in the Basketball Classic.

2022 NCAA Tournament Day 1: Schedule, Bracket, Live Streaming

2022 NCAA Tournament Day 1: Schedule, Bracket, Live Streaming The complete Day 1 schedule for March Madness Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Three Mountain West teams in action. The first full day of the NCAA Tournament is finally here and it …

2022 NCAA Tournament Day 1: Schedule, Bracket, Live Streaming


The complete Day 1 schedule for March Madness


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Three Mountain West teams in action.

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The first full day of the NCAA Tournament is finally here and it is really a celebration of sports with wall-to-wall games. On Thursday, there are three Mountain West teams in action with Colorado State opening up the tournament against Michigan as the very first game of the tournament.

Boise State will take on Memphis at 1:45 p.m. ET on TNT, and then in the prime time slot of games San Diego State will face Creighton on truTV at 7:27 p.m. ET.

Join Our March Madness Bracket Challenge Group

Thursday, March 17 (all times Eastern)

12:15 p.m. – No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 6 Colorado State on CBS
12:40 p.m. – No. 13 South Dakota State vs. No. 4 Providence on truTV
1:45 p.m. – No. 9 Memphis vs. No. 8 Boise State on TNT
2:00 p.m. – No. 16 Norfolk State vs. No. 1 Baylor on TBS
2:45 p.m. – No. 14 Longwood vs. No. 3 Tennessee on CBS
3:10 p.m. – No. 12 Richmond vs. No. 5 Iowa on truTV
4:15 p.m. – No. 16 Georgia State vs. No. 1 Gonzaga on TNT
4:30 p.m. – No. 9 Marquette vs. No. 8 North Carolina on TBS
6:50 p.m. – No. 12 New Mexico State vs. No. 5 UConn on TNT
7:10 p.m. – No. 15 Saint Peter’s vs. No. 2 Kentucky on CBS
7:20 p.m. – No. 12 Wyoming/Indiana vs. No. 5 Saint Mary’s on TBS
7:27 p.m. – No. 9 Creighton vs. No. 8 San Diego State on truTV
9:20 p.m. – No. 13 Vermont vs. No. 4 Arkansas on TNT
9:40 p.m. – No. 10 San Francisco vs. No. 7 Murray State on CBS
9:50 p.m. – No. 13 Akron vs. No. 4 UCLA on TBS
9:57 p.m. – No. 16 Texas Southern vs. No. 1 Kansas on truTV


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2022 NCAA Tournament: Colorado State State vs. Michigan Preview, How To Watch & More

2022 NCAA Tournament: Colorado State State vs. Michigan Preview, How To Watch & More Colorado State vs. Michigan is the first game of the weekend. Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Can the Rams get the win? Colorado State gets a prime slot as …

2022 NCAA Tournament: Colorado State State vs. Michigan Preview, How To Watch & More


Colorado State vs. Michigan is the first game of the weekend.


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Can the Rams get the win?

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Colorado State gets a prime slot as being the very first game of the NCAA Tournament and will air on CBS. The Rams are the higher No. 6 seed compared to the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines, but the Big Ten team that was able to take a bus ride compared to chartered flight issues is a one-point favorite.

However, the Wolverines have a major injury issue as guard DeVante’ Jones is in concussion protocol after an issue during practice as he took an inadvertent elbow to the nose.

This is a big blow to the Wolverines who were relying on the senior guard. For the season, Jones averaged 10.7 points, 4.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds, but of late he has turned on his game with three of his prior five games he scored 18, 21, and 25 points.

WHO: No. 6 Colorado State (25-5) vs. No. 11 Michigan (17-14)
WHEN: Thursday, March 17, 12:15 p.m. ET
WHERE: Gainbridge Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, IN
TV: CBS
STREAM: FuboTV – Get a free trial & March Madness Live
RADIO: The Varsity Network
ODDS: Michigan -1; O/U: 136.5

In our initial write-up of this game, we noted a few key players to watch:

Hunter Dickinson:

The 7’1″, 260lbs sophomore center presents a challenge for the Rams. The one thing Colorado State truly lacks is size inside. They’ve done a good job compensating this year, but 18.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game to go along with a 56.3 FG% is a dangerous matchup. Especially when he’s not afraid to take a three-point shot either.

Eli Brooks:

One of two senior guards for the Wolverines, Brooks is Michigan’s second-leading scorer at 12.3 points per game. He’s also their main deep threat, shooting 38.9% from three ranking second among regular contributors. He also chips in a little bit everywhere with 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.

The size of Dickinson might be the biggest issue for Colorado State and it will be extremely difficult to guard as he also leads the Wolverines in points and rebounds.

The Rams don’t really have the size to really match up with him as they go with a small ball and David Roddy sometimes plays center. Colorado State does have 6-foot-9 Dischon Thomas, though he averages only 16 minutes per game, and then the 6-10 James Moors is part of the rotation too.

The best player on the floor, however, will be Roddy from Colorado State as he is a future pro and considered one of the best NBA prospects in the NCAA Tournament.

The Rams also have arguably the best guard in Isaiah Stevens and that one-two punch with him and Roddy could be too much for the Wolverines to handle.

Colorado State has been tested, as have the Wolverines, so there will be no intimidation factor when Colorado State lines up against Michigan.


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