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Mountain West Conference Basketball Preview 2009-10

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he college basketball season began last night, but the Mountain West begins their season this Friday night.  The Mountain West is trying to progress and start getting three teams in the NCAA tournament.  Some prognosticators have three teams in the NCAA tournament with San Diego State, UNLV, and BYU.  The three teams would be a record for the barley a decade old Mountain West conference.

BYU is the league favorite with four of their five starters back, eight total players over all, plus a super-hyped prospect in Tyler Haws.  The Cougars just need to get past the first round to consider the season a success.   Guard Jimmer Fredette is pegged as the conference player of the year, and will be their main scoring option.  The other Cougar on the preseason all-league team is Jonathan Tavernari to lead them this year.

UNLV has the chance to win the league with the three transfers from big time programs in Derrick Jasper from Kentucky, Chance Stanback from UCLA, and Steve Jones from Arizona State.  If these new transfers can gel with the team then the Rebels will make a serious run at the conference title. Coach Lon Kruger will the team prepared for the 2009 season and get them back into the NCAA tournament.

San Diego State is the other contender for the league title and they have Freshman Kawhi Leonard who is preseason freshman of the year, and will make an immediate impact for the Aztecs.  Then the Aztecs ahve Billy Whie who is preseason all-league, but the darkhorse player is Eric Lawton who starred at Pepperdine as a freshman.  Lawton had to transfer to San Diego Community College for his sophomore year and was co-MVP of the Pacific Coast Conference Player of the Year. 

Tyrone Shelley also starred at Pepperdine as a freshman with his high school teammate Thomas. He was the team leader in scoring, and for his freshman season, Shelley was named a 2007‑08 Mid‑Major Freshman First‑Team All‑American.

Utah and New Mexico could be spoilers for the league title, or possibly emerge as an NCAA tournament team.  Utah did lose Center Luke Nevil and others but they do have a very good coach in Jim Boylen.  New Mexico also has a great coach in Steve Alford, and as Utah lost Luke Nevil they lost their leading scorer in Tony Danridge who was their play maker.  The Lobos have a great home court advantage at The PIt which could grab the Lobos the few extra wins they need to sneak up in the Mountain West Standings.

Below is the projected order of finish and check the links for a more indepth preview of each team check the links below.

  1. BYU 
  2. San Diego State     
  3. UNLV
  4. Utah
  5. New Mexico
  6. Wyoming
  7. TCU
  8. Colorado State
  9. Air Force

The All-Preseason Team

  • G - Jimmer Fredette (Jr.) - BYU
  • G - Jonathan Tavernari (Sr.) - BYU
  • F  - Billy White (Jr.) - San Diego State
  • F  - Zvonko Buljan (Sr.) - TCU
  • C - Tre'Von Willis (Jr.) - UNLV

Preseason Player of the Year

  • G - Jimmer Fredette (Jr.) - BYU

Preseason Newcomer of the Year

  • G - Derrick Jasper (Jr.) - UNLV

Preseason Freshman of the Year

  • F - Kawhi Leonard  (Fr.) - San Diego State