Full Court Press: New Mexico at San Diego State is the game to watch


Saturday's slate of games did not disappoint as the best slate of conference games in the MWC on the season. No game was boring, including TCU @ Wyoming. The Horned Frogs kept the game close, but Wyoming ran away with it late, winning 77-67. San Diego State @ UNLV was no snoozer either, the Aztecs held a comfortable lead all game, but UNLV used a late 16-5 run to take 55-54 lead with 3:07 left. The Aztecs still won 63-57 thanks to a 9-10 performance from the Charity Stripe in the final 3 minutes.

The secnod basketball edition of the Holy War was actually very entertaining. Utah kept within at least 5 points for most of the game until BYU decided to show Utah up in the final 9 minutes. The final score was BYU 72, Utah 59. In the final game of the night, New Mexico @ CSU almost matched the storyline of San Diego State @ UNLV. Colorado State held a double digit lead for almost the entire game, at one point holding a 20 point lead. New Mexico stormed back with some very hard nosed play to get the lead within three points with 41 seconds remaining. In the end, it was too little, too late for New Mexico, as Colorado State held off the Lobos 68-62.

With Colorado State's win and UNLV's loss, the Rams open up a 2 game lead on both New Mexico and UNLV. Although that looks like a very big lead for the Rams, it really isn't as big as it looks. After the jump, I'll explain why Colorado State's lead still doesn't change the stakes of UNLV's upcoming matchup with Colorado State in a couple of games.

A lot of people will look at Colorado State's 2 game lead on UNLV and New Mexico and say that Colorado State has all but wrapped up the 3 seed in the MWC Tournament. At the same time, a lot of people will probably also forget that UNLV has already finished their games against BYU and San Diego State while Colorado State still has to go on the road against them.

If we assume that those two games are losses for Colorado State, then UNLV's matchup against Colorado State becomes for third place in the Mountain West. A UNLV win would put the Rebels one game ahead of the Rams with UNLV still having to play New Mexico. If UNLV loses against New Mexico, then the tiebreaking procedure goes like this, per Mountain West press release:

If two teams tie for a position, and one holds a win-loss advantage during regular season play, that team reveives the higher seed. If the two teams split their games during the regular season, each tied team's record shall be compared against the team occupying the highest position in the standings, counting down through the standings until one team gains the advantage, thereby gaining the higher seed. If two teams remain tied after all tie breakers have been exhausted, the last tie-breaker when determining seeds for the Conoco MWC Basketball Championships shall be team RPI, as determined by the most recent NCAA RPI available on Saturday, March 5, 2011.

Let's see what the records for each team against the other MWC teams in order from highest to lowest 'In this scenario':

Colorado State UNLV
San Diego State

0-2

0-2
BYU 0-2 0-2
New Mexico 1-1 1-1
Air Force 2-0 2-0
Utah 2-0 2-0

Wyoming

2-0 2-0
TCU 2-0 2-0

At this point, the tiebreaker would go to the most recent RPI which most likely would be in UNLV's favor since they have a marquee non-conference win over Wisconsin while Colorado State has a couple of Top 100 wins, but not much else. Let's say UNLV has a better RPI, the Rebels win the 3 seed over CSU even with losing to New Mexico and only beating CSU in the second half of conference season (not including the lower half of the MWC).

Basically, a UNLV win over CSU means all you have to do is take care of business against Utah and Wyoming and the Rebels should get the 3 seed in the MWC tournament. On the other hand, if Colorado State wins they should be in the same or maybe better shape then the Rebels would be if they won.

Game of the week: San Diego State @ UNLV

Both New Mexico @ Colorado State and San Diego State @ UNLV were great finishes, but San Diego State @ UNLV wins only because UNLV was able to regain the lead. New Mexico got close, but never got back in the lead.

Here are the current MWC Standings:

By Record:

Team Conference Record Overall Record
San Diego State 10-1

25-1

BYU 10-1 24-2
Colorado State 7-3 17-7
UNLV 6-5 18-7
New Mexico 5-5 17-8
Air Force 4-6 13-10
Utah 3-8 10-15
Wyoming 2-9 9-16
TCU 1-10 10-16

By RPI:

Team RPI
BYU 2
San Diego State 5
UNLV 30
Colorado State 38
New Mexico 69
Air Force 95
Utah 124
TCU 187
Wyoming 265

Regardless of the situation between UNLV and CSU, New Mexico is now going to have to pull some pretty big upsets to get the 3 seed in the MWC Tournament. They travel to Viejas Arena in San Diego to take on the Aztecs on Wednesday. That will be just one of the big upsets they will need to pull off not only to get the 3 seed in the MWC Tournament, but in order to make the NCAA Tournament as well. At this point, New Mexico will have to win out the rest of the regular season and make it to the MWC Championship game in order to be considered for an at-large bid... Very unlikely.

Air Force @ UNLV

Tuesday

7:30 P.M. PT

The Mtn.

 Colorado State @ TCU

Wednesday

7:00 P.M. CT

The Mtn.

Wyoming @ Utah

Wednesday

7:00 P.M. MT

CBS College

New Mexico @ San Diego State

Wednesday

7:30 P.M. PT

The Mtn.

Game of the Week: New Mexico @ San Diego State

This was an easy choice since all of the other games aren't really worth anything. This is basically where the rubber meets the road for New Mexico. They either beat San Diego State or they can kiss their chance at an at-large bid goodbye. Of course, there is still the MWC Tournament that they could win, but they would have to win three straight games against the upper echelon of the MWC.

 

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