The latest bracketology projections from SB Nation are out, and they are consistent with the Mountain West landing four teams this week. The usual suspects are New Mexico, UNLV, San Diego State, and Colorado State, plus there is Boise State who is just on the outside looking in.
Here is where the Mountain West teams stand this week:
No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 14 Northwestern State
No. 6 UNLV vs. No. 11 St. Mary's
No. 6 Colorado State vs. No. 11 Iowa State or Mississippi
No. 7 San Diego State vs. No. 10 Virginia
Having four teams as the higher seed is a great achievement for this league, and hopefully could lead to four teams in the Round of 32. If the Mountain West were to get four teams to that round it would be the first time ever in league history, and it is a step up from having multiple teams in the tournament as an underdog seed.
Here is what Chris Dobbertean says about the Mountain West this week:
Protected Seeds (1): South No. 3 New Mexico
Other Locks (3): Colorado State, San Diego State, UNLV
On Saturday, the Lobos got a record day from Kendall Williams to win in Fort Collins and seize control of the Mountain West race, while grabbing their seventh Top 50 win and 14th Top 100 win in the process. If New Mexico defeats San Diego State in Albuquerque on Wednesday night, the Mountain West regular season crown is as good as won, particularly with only non-contenders Wyoming, Nevada and Air Force left on the schedule.
As for the Rams, a week that featured a two-point loss at UNLV and home defeat at the hands of the Lobos has to be viewed as a pair of lost opportunities, particularly when it comes to the seeding race. Colorado State's only remaining game against a contender in its last four is a Saturday trip to Boise State. That puts them in the driver's seat for earning an easier Mountain West quarterfinal (avoiding one of the top six), alongside New Mexico.
The Aztecs and Runnin' Rebels combined for four wins last week, good enough to keep them tied for third in the Mountain West title chase. If the two continue to stay even, the seeding edge in Las Vegas next month goes to UNLV, thanks to their season sweep of the Aztecs. That would allow the Rebels to avoid New Mexico until the championship game. Looking at the remaining schedules -- at New Mexico, Air Force, at Boise State for the Aztecs and at Nevada, Boise State and Fresno State for the Rebels -- the advantage goes to the tourney hosts.
Bubble Out: Boise State
The Broncos continue to hang on, and they'll get a chance to make a move in their final four regular season games. First, Boise State will need to take care of Nevada on Wednesday night. If they can handle the Wolf Pack, Colorado State visits on Saturday. Then, it's a trip to the Thomas & Mack Center and home finale with San Diego State. That's three chances to better a 2-5 mark against the Top 50 before the Mountain West Tournament.
For Boise State to earn a bid they need to finish strong against the top teams in the Mountain West which they play over the final two weeks of the season. Not say it is impossible, but it seems unlikely that Boise State will be able to get the needed wins to earn an at-large berth.