With Utah State and San Jose State joining the Mountain West, and conversely Boise State and San Diego State staying, the basketball side of things gives the league 11 members. With 11 teams, creating a basketball schedule is not very easy as if the league had eight, nine or even 10 teams.
An 18-game schedule has been in place for sometime, but the actual format was still up in the air. That is until the spring meetings the league had in Phoenix. With 18 games there is no way to play a round robin with each team playing twice, so the decision was made to play an unbalanced schedule with the better teams facing off more often.
The reason to have the better teams play more often is to get better matchups on television with CBS and ESPN, this is similar to what the Big East did when they had its monstrous 16-team league.
However, the coaches voted 8-3 in favor of doing a random schedule, but the athletic directors smartly vetoing the vote in favor of more UNLV vs. San Diego State and New Mexico games rather than Nevada playing Fresno State or San Jose State twice in a year.
Having the better teams play more often in a season will help each others schools RPI and other metrics when it comes to NCAA tournament time, but it can also help lesser teams who can earn more wins by not having to play the upper part of the league as often. The breakdown of the schedule will have teams play eight opponents twice and two others just once.