Analysis: SDSU and Wyoming wins show MWC atop the West

Luke Martinez of the Wyoming Cowboys - US PRESSWIRE

The Mountain West Conference has made moves to take the position of being the top college basketball league in the West over the past few years. Last night's wins by the San Diego St. Aztecs and Wyoming Cowboys over nationally-ranked Pac-12 opponents got the attention of some in the national media. Will the MWC solidify its position this post season? MW Connection takes a look at it.

Looks like the national media is noticing the ascendance of Mountain West basketball in general and the No. 23/21 San Diego St. Aztecs in particular.

Yahoo Sports! Blog "The Dagger" today heralds SDSU’s 78-69 win over the UCLA Bruins (No. 24 in the Coaches poll) in the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim last night confirmation of the Aztecs’ status as the best team in California.

Yahoo!’s Jeff Eisenberg writes:

The Aztecs have earned the right to call themselves the best college basketball team in California after 26 consecutive wins over in-state foes including a pair of victories apiece over (the California Golden Bears, USC Trojans and Long Beach St. 49ers).

That it was no surprise San Diego State added UCLA to its list of in-state victims is a testament to the trajectory of both programs these days.

26 consecutive games is not a flash in the pan. It’s solid evidence of dominance. UCLA has not been the flagship basketball school of the Pac-12 for sometime now. But the whisperings have been there for years – the Pac-12 is no longer the best league in the West.

CBSSports.com’s senior blogger Matt Norlander also plugged the Aztecs’ win but placed the now 8-0 Wyoming Cowboys’ win over No. 19 (and previously unbeaten) Colorado Bufaloes 76-69 in Laramie.

Norlander writes:

...Wyoming's just a really solid 8-0 team that's getting victories by not killing itself or getting lucky. It doesn't stand out in any statistical category except two-point field goal defense, which it was top-five nationally in prior to this game.

Mountain West is definitely improved this season. Wyoming could be the bellwether team to prove that. Four bids down the road? Right now, absolutely, considering this next team ...

How did the Pac-12, one of the Big 6 conferences, go from six bids to 2 bids in just five years’ time? Well, you can bet that having its marquee teams like UCLA fall on hard times is one factor.

You need look no further than bids to the NCAA Tournament to see the shift:

  • 2012: MWC – 4 bids, West Coast Conference – 3 bids, Pac-12 – 2 bids
  • 2011: Pac-10 – 4 bids, MWC – 3 bids, WCC – 1 bid
  • 2010: MWC – 4 bids, Pac-10 – 2 bids, WCC – 2 bids
  • 2009: Pac 10 – 6 bids, MWC – 2 bids, WCC – 1 bid
  • 2008: Pac -10 – 6 bids, MWC – 2 bids, WCC – 1 bid

There's no doubt - the MWC has moved to eclipse the Pac-12.

The Colorado loss at Wyoming coupled with UCLA’s loss to SDSU could leave the Pac-12 with just one ranked team come Monday – the No. 9 Arizona Wildcats.

Meanwhile the MWC has three teams in the Top 20 and at least two – the Colorado St. Rams and Wyoming knocking on the door.

It's early still and the Pac-12 has some chances to pull itself even in head-to-head play with the MWC – starting this Wednesday when USC visits The Pit and the unbeaten, nationally ranked New Mexico Lobos and Colorado St. goes to Boulder to play the Buffs. Cal also gets its shot next Saturday when the Bears host UNLV.

But if the trend continues, look for the MWC to continue its eclipse of the only Big 6 league out West and solidify its spot as the top college basketball league this side of the Rockies.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Mountain West Connection

You must be a member of Mountain West Connection to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mountain West Connection. You should read them.

Join Mountain West Connection

You must be a member of Mountain West Connection to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mountain West Connection. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker