Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The very first Mountain West league game is Nevada vs. Air Force on Wednesday.
The Air Force Falcons and Nevada Wolf Pack are not seriously considered as contenders for the Mountain West, but they both enter league play with solid records. Air Force is 8-4 and Nevada is 9-5, however the big difference is that Air Force is 5-1 at home while Nevada is 1-4 on the road.
Road wins are tough to come by in the Mountain West, so just right there the Falcons have an early edge. Plus, Air Force's four loses this year have come against teams who have a combined record of 42-11, so they have been tested in the non-conference season. These teams have absolutely zero history between each, as this is the first game ever between the two schools.
The players to watch for Air Force begin with guard Michael Lyons who is the teams leading scorer at 19.6 points per game, and most recently moved into the top-10 scores in Air Force history. Lyons is also the teams leading rebounder at 5.2 per game, and Air Force goes as far as Lyons can take him.
One thing that changed for Air Force this year compared to years past is that they actually move the ball on offense, and do not want to slow the game down to a crawl. The Falcons average 74.8 points per game, which is good enough for 58th in the country.
As for Nevada, they are woeful on the road with just one win, which came against Washington. The Wolf Pack are a more balanced team on offense with Malik Story and Deonte Burton leading the way, but those are the only two players to average double-digit scoring per game. However, the team is deep as 10 players play at least nine minutes per game, so they can rotate players in and out and have fresh players late in the game. Having a deep bench is key for playing at the altitude in Colorado Springs.
With both teams playing on opposite sides of the spectrum for road and home games, look for Air Force to start conference play with a win.
This game tips at 9 p.m. ET and can be seen at GoAirForceFalcons.com