The Mountain West semifinals are set for tonight with only New Mexico needing to keep winning to get into the NCAA tournament, and for New Mexico. The rest of the teams are jockeying for position and BYU is looking like they have the most to lose if they are unable to get past New Mexico. New Mexico has already beaten BYU two times this year, and it just seems that New Mexico has BYU's number as they have beaten in four straight games. New Mexico's athleticism and length is something that causes BYU trouble, and it showed quite a bit when BYU played New Mexico without Brandon Davies.
New Mexico was able to get by Colorado State in the quarterfinal round to move to one of the first four teams out of the NCAA tournament, so they still need some work to get in. Getting the draw to play BYU in round two was what the Lobos wanted, they have owned BYU when on offense and have averaged 82 points per game in the last four meetings between the schools, so BYU must find more scoring outside of just Jimmer Fredette.
The Lobos should run against BYU and force an up tempo game since BYU has little depth now and over the past few games have struggled to score points consistently. In the TCU game shot 42 percent from the field, only 26 from three point range and their bench only contributed with two points.
If BYU is to lose their chance of an easier first or second round matchup in the NCAA tournament will drastically decrease. The Cougars are staring at maybe a four or possibly even a five seed if they lose Friday night.
The San Diego State and UNLV game should not be regulated to a 8:30 pacific tip where most of the country will not stay up that late to watch this game. They will be missing out on a great game, but the time is just not a good idea. Another blown move by the league, but lets move off of that. UNLV lost both games against San Diego State, but the Rebels are streaking as they have won six games in a row and their last lost came at home to these Aztecs.
UNLV is tough at home and especially tough when the Mountain West tournament is on their home court where they have been to six-of-seven title games when the tournament has been in Las Vegas. A win for the Rebels over the Aztecs would bump up their seed to a potential six seed and maybe even as high as a four seed if they win the tournament over BYU.
Both teams are athletic and play each other close, but the talent edge has to go to San Diego State by just a little. The Rebels will need to slow down the Aztecs slew of scores in Kawhi Leonard, Malcom Thomas, Billy White and D.J.Gay all while having Tre'Von Willis and Chase Stanback put up a lot of points. This game should be close just like the others they have played tis year.
San Diego State is almost out of the running for a one seed, but there could be some crazy action if Ohio State, Duke or Notre Dame go down early in their conference tournament. Ohio State needed overtime to be Northwestern today, so things can happen, but a two seed seems more likely for San Diego State if they win out.
Below is my projection of where these four teams will be seeded based on their results from the Mountain West tournament.
New Mexico Lobos
Semifinal loss -- NIT bid.
Finals loss -- Opening round game as 12 seed or NIT bid.
Conference champion --10 seed
My prediction -- NIT bid
Semifinal loss -- four seed
Finals loss -- three seed
Conference champion -- two or three seed
My prediction -- four seed
San Diego St. Aztecs
Semifinal loss -- three seed
Finals loss -- two or three seed
Conference champion -- two seed possibly a one seed if there is chaos at the top.
My prediction -- two seed
UNLV Runnin' Rebels
Semifinal loss -- seven seed
Finals loss -- six seed
Conference champion -- five seed or possibly a four seed if they beat BYU in finals.
My prediction -- seven seed
So, where do you think the MWC teams will be seeded?