The Mountain West basketball league is a stacked conference with six legitimate NCAA tournament teams in the conference, however, the odds of getting six teams in the field out of a nine team league in March is a daunting task.
Well, the latest Bracketology projections from SB Nation have just that, six Mountain West teams in the field of 68:
• No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 14 Utah State
• No. 4 San Diego State vs. No. 13 Stephen F. Austin
• No. 7 UNLV vs. No. 10 Baylor
• No. 8 Boise State vs. No. 9 Georgetown
• No. 10 Wyoming vs. No. 7 Kansas State
• No. 11 Colorado State vs. No. 11 Texas A&M (opening round game)
Just seeing six teams even in consideration is a huge victory for the Mountain West, and that numbers puts them in a tie for second alongside the Big 12 and Big East, with only the Big Ten higher with seven projected bids. The all mighty ACC has just four projected teams, which is even less than the Atlantic-10 who has five teams.
Colorado State was the last team to earn a spot in the field, and Wyoming was in consideration to be in the opening round with Colorado State, but they narrowly escaped that.
Here is what Chris Dobbertean says about the Mountain West:
New Mexico, San Diego State and Boise State stand unbeaten after the first week of Mountain West play, though the Broncos played just once, while UNLV, Colorado State and Wyoming all picked up defeats. All six remain in the field, with the Lobos and Aztecs among the top 16 and the Rams remaining in the First Four. Had Larry Eustachy's squad won at San Diego State on Saturday night, which would have been a significant feat given the Rams' struggles in Mountain West road games last season, it would be in far better position than it is today.
The league grind will be in full effect this week. UNLV faces a daunting pair of road games, shifting from San Diego on Wednesday to Fort Collins on Saturday. New Mexico visits Boise State in its only game of the week, while the Broncos visit a dangerous Air Force squad over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Aztecs follow their home game against the Runnin' Rebels with a trip to the altitude of Laramie. All those showdowns mean it's going to be difficult for anyone to remain unblemished in league play for much longer.
Seeing teams not completely fall out of the field after a loss -- especially in Wyoming's case -- is just more respect that the league has built up.
Once conference season starts picking off teams, look for the Mountain West to likely earn bids from New Mexico, UNLV and San Diego State; then a very chance for a fourth team and maybe a fifth among Colorado State, Wyoming and Boise State. Getting six teams from this league just seems a bit too much, if it happened that would be great, but the odds are against that happening.