ESPN.com has a pretty nice article during the college basketball offseason, and ranked every program with at least 15 years of division one play since 1984-85 season when the NCAA tournament expanded to 65 teams. It is amazing where some of the teams in the MWC landed, and what is most surprising is that the Mountain West ranked 6th in average position per team in a conference ahead of the Pac-10 with an average 113th ranking compared to 118th, not too bad. Only the top 50 goes into details of their score rankings. Very interesting article, and I was very surprised where a few teams ended up.
Here are the scoring rules that determined the rankings:
We let the numbers do the talking by assigning the following point values for certain successes and failures.
• National title … 25
• Title game loss … 20
• National semifinal loss … 15
• Elite Eight loss … 10
• Best W-L record in conference's regular season … 5
• 30-plus wins in a season … 5
• Sweet 16 loss … 5
• Conference tournament title … 3
• AP first-team All-American … 3
• Losing in NCAA second round … 3
• Player in Top 10 of NBA draft … 2
• NCAA first-round win as a 12-16 seed … 2
• NIT title … 2
• AP second-team All-American … 2
• 20-29 wins in a season … 1
• NCAA tournament berth … 1
• Postseason NIT berth … 1
• AP third-team All-American … 1
• NCAA first-round loss to a 12-16 seed … -2
• Losing season … -3
• Ban from NCAA tournament … -3
>> Minimum 15 seasons in Division I
** Ties are broken by overall winning percentage since the 1984-85 season
^^ Teams are listed with their current conferences
!! In conferences without postseason tournament champions, the points were awarded to the regular-season champ.
T-260. Air Force
T-208. San Diego State
T-148. Colorado State
T-70. New Mexico
46. BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS, Mountain West
Positives: 14 20-win seasons; 12 NCAA berths
Negatives: 5 losing seasons; 3 NCAA wins
Total points: 81
Did you know? Quietly, the Cougars have been racking up 20-win seasons in pretty solid conferences (the WAC and MWC). Holding them back is the fact that they haven't played in a Sweet 16 since the days of Danny Ainge.
24. UTAH UTES, Mountain West
Positives: 14 20-win seasons; 11 conference regular-season titles; 13 NCAA berths; 5 Sweet 16s; 1998 Final Four
Negatives: 4 losing seasons
Total points: 171
Did you know? The Utes have cleaned up in the regular season, winning 11 conference championships. They were one half away from beating Kentucky for the national title in 1998. They are also helped by having three first-team All-Americans and three top-10 picks in the NBA draft (Keith Van Horn, Andre Miller and Andrew Bogut).
8. UNLV REBELS, Mountain West
Positives: 19 conference titles (9 regular-season, 10 tourney); 5 30-win seasons; 18 postseasons (11 NCAA, 7 NIT); 3 No. 1 seeds; 6 Sweet 16s; 3 Final Fours; 1990 national title; 24 NCAA tourney wins; 5 All-Americans; 5 NBA top-10 picks
Negatives: 2 losing seasons; 2 NCAA sanctions; 10 coaches since 1984-85; 0 NCAA tourney wins between 1992 and 2007
Total points: 239
Did you know? One of the most scandal-plagued programs in the history of the sport still cracks the Top 10. It's all thanks to the glory days of Jerry Tarkanian, when the Rebels dominated the Big West while racking up five 30-win seasons. Between 1987 and 1991, UNLV made three Final Fours, including a dominating national title in 1990.