Selection Sunday is the day that many teams wait on hands and knees to see if they made it or missed the cut. That won't happen for MWC teams this year as there are really no teams on the bubble, so the question is where will UNLV, BYU, and San Diego State be seeded in this year's Tournament?
In most bracketologists most recent bracket, UNLV is a 6 or a 7 seed. Joe Lunardi (ESPN's Bracketologist) has them at the 6 spot, Chris Dobbertean (SB Nation's Bracketologist has them as a 7 seed, and Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com's Bracketologist) has them as high as 5 seed. I'm really hoping that we're closer to Mr. Palm's assessment than we are to Dobbertean's, but I'll put in my own thoughts later.
The only real question for San Diego State is whether or not they make the jump to a one seed. That could happen if Ohio State loses or some other form of chaos happens in the championship games on Sunday. In the meantime, literally every bracketologist has them at a 2 seed.
BYU got as high as a one seed this season after beating San Diego State a second time, but quickly fell after the loss of Brandon Davies and a blowout loss to New Mexico at home. BYU played absolutely horribly against San Diego State and we'll see where bracketologists place them from that, but for right now the bracketologists have them as either a 4 or a 5 seed.
This is your open thread, but I'll have my predictions and a breakdown of why these teams go where they go.
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I always like to have a table full of resumes to reference to, so here are the resumes of UNLV, San Diego State and BYU. Something to remember is that the records are based on what the RPI will look at, wins over D-1 opponents.
San Diego State Aztecs
UNLV Runnin' Rebels
Record: 24-8 overall; 12-6 conference
Average RPI Win: 150 Loss: 32
RPI 1-50 Wins: Wisconsin, at Kansas State, at Colorado State
RPI 51-100 Wins: Tulsa (N), Virginia Tech (N), New Mexico, at New Mexico
Bad (RPI 150+) Losses: UC-Santa Barbara
Other Losses: at Louisville, BYU, at San Diego State, Colorado State, at BYU, San Diego State, San Diego State (N)
After looking at the resumes, here's my analysis:
San Diego State - San Diego State has 14 RPI Top 100 wins, That's an astounding number for any team. Couple that with the fact that San Diego State's only two losses came to BYU, who they just beat in the Mountain West Championship. If the committee has any doubts as to just how good San Diego State is, just watch the tape of the Mountain West Championship and everything will be smoothed over. I think the Aztecs deserve a 1 seed for who they have beaten and the way they have played this year, but unless Ohio State falls today or some other wacky thing happens, I can't see San Diego State reaching the Top Line.
When it comes to how deep the Aztecs can go in the NCAA Tournament, I think they can go very far. They commit practically no turnovers, rebound so well that you almost never get second chance points, and play great defense. Put a ton of athleticism on top of that and you have a juggernaut. I really do think San Diego State can make it all the way to the Final Four, but making it past that is another story when you have to deal with people like Jared Sullinger.
BYU - BYU is a tough case. The Cougars have 12 RPI Top 100 wins, 9 of them being RPI Top 50 wins but they've had some turmoil to end the season. Role Player Brandon Davies was suspended for violating the BYU Honor Code following the win over San Diego State and the team simply hasn't been the same without him. The Cougars only credible win was on Friday, when Jimmer Fredette dropped 52 on New Mexico. The only problem I have with that win is that the rest of the team only scored 35 points. If Jimmer doesn't drop 40+ on a team, like he didn't against San Diego State Saturday night, then this team will struggle to beat the truly great teams.
Like I said before, BYU is a tough case. In the NCAA Tournament, seeding is everything. Not only does it determine who you play in the first round, but it determines who you play after that. For instance, if you are a 5 seed, you face a 12 seed in the first round, and a 4 seed in the second round. The higher seeds will obviously have tougher matchups, but getting a good seed is crucial when making a run in the NCAA Tournament. That is going to be BYU's problem as they simply have not looked good since losing Davies and I'm sure that will have an impact on the Selection committee's decision on BYU. As a result, I think the furthest the Cougars will be able to go is the Sweet 16. They simply lack the firepower in the front line to make it any further.
UNLV - The Runnin' Rebels have great wins over Wisconsin and Kansas State, but don't really have a good win after that. They have a win over Colorado State, wins over Tulsa and Virginia Tech from the 76 Classic, and a sweep of New Mexico, but those aren't what is going to get you a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels have been so close to that marquee win three times against San Diego State (I'm still upset at D.J. Gay for Friday), but haven't been able to pull it off. Because they don't have that marquee Conference play win, I'm going to being pessimistic about the Runnin' Rebels and say they would be lucky if they got a 6 seed.
An ESPN Insider group called "Giant Killers" talked about who are the Top 10 most likely teams to make a massive upset if they make the NCAA Tournament and UNLV was number 2. The Runnin' Rebels force a lot of turnovers, play great pressure man-to-man defense, and create constant movement with screens and cuts in their half-court offense. According to Giant Killers, this is a recipe for disaster for a Goliath in the NCAA's. Me? I'm not so optimistic. I think they make it to the Sweet 16 and no further.
|Where they are seeded||How far they go|
|San Diego State||2 seed||Final Four|
|BYU||5 seed||Sweet 16|
|UNLV||7 seed||Sweet 16|
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