Unlike many other conferences the MWC is pretty much set in its NCAA tournament bids. BYU, SDSU, and UNLV are all getting a invite and have a decent idea what seeds they will be given. That leaves the NIT, CBI, and CIT the opportunity to pick up some good teams out of the MWC. I will break it down by tounament and what is expected to play out in the "other" postseasons.
NIT- National Invitational Tournament is a 32 team tournament and is known as the second best tournament after the NCAA. The selection process is driven by results and possible TV ratings so there isn't exactly a science to picking teams. Higher seeded teams get to host games until the semi-finals.
CBI- College Basketball Invitational is a 16 team tournament and also allows teams to host games. The twist the CBI throws in to get watchers is a best of three series once it comes down to the final two teams. I personally love this feature as it takes out a fluke game by a team. Imagine watching Duke and Butler a possible three times last year? No way the NCAA would do this but its a nice twist for a lower rated tournament.
CIT- College Insiders Tournament will be a 24 team tournament after being a 16 team bracket in earlier years, the 2 its been around. Not much history to this tournament but think of it as the 4th in line trophy for the winner.
Catch which MWC teams will end up in what tournament after the break.
UNM- After being a bubble team, then kicked off in forgotten land the New Mexico Lobos made a charge by sweeping BYU in the regular season. This should land them in the NIT. After a 1st round MWC win against the Rams the Lobos were back on the bubble. They failed to make a run but they boosted themselves into the 66th spot in the RPI. That spot puts them back into the NIT talk. They should make a great NIT team if they can get a host seed and make a team beat them at The Pit. The Lobos are hot right now winning 4 or their last 6. The two losses were BYU and overtime to UNLV. They did have a win against BYU and CSU in that streak.
They are led by Dairese Gary at point guard who has big game potential. He was held in check the last two games but has the ability to put up 20 points on a given night. Gary can get to the free throw line, 10+ FT made in two of his last 4 games. Drew Gordon is a double double machine racking up 6 in the last 7 games for the Lobos. He has 13 on the season. The Lobos are playing well of late and could make a deep run in the NIT if they can start off with a few home games in The Pit. I have seen seeding predictions with them anywhere from 2-6th place in the NIT.
PREDICTION: 3-5 seed in NIT. Make a deep run and are contenders to win it with the right seed.
CSU- Going 1-5 in their last six and throwing themselves off a weak bubble the Rams sit with a chance to play in the NIT still. Those five losses did come against postseason teams, but they could have/should have gone 3-3 instead. The Rams have been given a high rank in the 2-3 range and seem like a lock to make the NIT with their 48 RPI. A high seed bodes well for the Rams because I doubt they could beat anyone on the road if they keep playing the way they have. A win or two at Moby Arena could get the Rams swagger back though.
Andy Ogide the man beast who has been the Rams lone star player of late will need to keep it up. Ogide has averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game of his last 11. Only twice in that stretch has he been held under 15 points. The Rams started out with another star player, Travis Franklin. They are down to one star as of late with Franklin's performance. 5.7 points per game going along with two shutouts, the same amount of times he has scored over 10 in the last 11 games. In the last six games Franklin has manged just 5 field goals to go with 18 turnovers. Yikes. It is no surpise the Rams have struggled as of late, not many teams second best scorer decides to fall apart at the end of his senior year.
PREDICTION: 2-4 seed in NIT. Win one game, two is a stretch with the way the Rams finished. Find their mid-season form and they could beat any NIT team.
The Air Force Falcons will get a taste of postseason for the first time since 2007 as they have elected to host a game in the CIT. Sitting at 105 in the RPI this is the Falcons best chance at the post season. The fact they elected to host is even smarter. They know they can pull in Falcon fans and make some money on top of the hosting fee they have to pay. Ten other teams along with AF have already planned to participate in the CIT.
PREDICTION: 1-4 seed in the CIT. I only say that because they are hosting a game. The Falcons could make some noise in the CIT, they other teams are no giants so it will come down to the team with the hot hand.