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SB Nation Bubble Watch: UNLV-CSU game is the most meaningful game on the season


Chris Dobbertean, SB Nation's College Basketball guru, does Bracketology every Tuesday and Bubble Watch every Friday. This week's post features Colorado State making the bracket and the UNLV-CSU game meaning a ton.

UNLV plays Colorado State on Saturday and, when it comes to making the NCAA Tournament, this will be the biggest game so far in the Mountain West. Here's Dobbertean's take on the Rebels situation:

UNLV's position is a bit dicey, thanks to a 1-5 mark against the Mountain West's tournament contenders (with the only win coming against New Mexico, the team furthest from the field). While the Rebels own a nice win over Wisconsin, and their victory over Kansas State in Kansas City received a major boost with the Wildcats' win over Kansas Monday night, they need those teams to keep playing well. Plus, they need to take care of business in the league, particularly over the next few days. The Runnin' Rebels' next two games, on the road against Colorado State and New Mexico, are vital to their hopes.

Of course San Diego State and BYU are still locks and 2 seeds. New Mexico on the other hand has almost entire dropped off the season and will probably have to win out from here if they want a chance at an at-large bid.

The Lobos returned to the bubble picture with a home win over BYU on January 29th, but still have a lot to do to play their way into the field, especially after Saturday's loss at Colorado State. New Mexico's case is already weak because non-conference slate that featured some disappointing losses and a whole slew of wins that haven't panned out from a quality perspective. The remaining schedule isn't kind to Steve Alford's team either, as they only welcome one MWC contender, UNLV, to the Pit. On Wednesday night, they dropped the first of two road games against the league's leaders, falling at San Diego State by six. A game at BYU remains on March 2nd.

Colorado State's resume is looking better and better by the second, and Dobbertean reminds us of that.

The Rams' biggest issue is a pair of very questionable losses, one at home to Sam Houston State Thanksgiving weekend, and another against Hampton in San Francisco over New Year's. A Cancun Governor's Cup crown provides a little bit of a boost, but not much, thanks to the relative weakness of that particular field, but Southern Mississippi's place on the bubble makes that achievement look even better. Colorado State will have to take care of business in the Mountain West to earn a bid. This weekend, Tim Miles' team, which has already split with  New Mexico, will go for a sweep of  UNLV. That would be a boost, but a win at either BYU or San Diego State, as difficult of an ask as that is, would be even more significant for the program.


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