The Mountain West Conference basketball season is in full swing. And for the rest of the year, we're checking in on all 11 teams to see where each week to see how they're doing in relation to NCAA tournament bids, MWC Tournament seeding and wrapping up the league's regular season championship.
Below are the Mountain West standings for Week 14:
|San Diego State
|San Jose State
Sure, San Diego State's in first place and ranked in the national top five. But it's not as if this is just a one-team race. After winning two games apiece this past week, New Mexico and Nevada find themselves right on the Aztecs' heels. And on top of that, UNLV is also lurking dangerously at 6-3, having won five of their last six contests. Outside of SDSU and UNM, none of these teams are in the current at-large conversation. But a few big wins can go a long way for any squad and if a team outside of the Aztecs and Lobos can get themselves a MWC title, that's all they'll need to punch a ticket to the NCAAs.
Wednesday, Feb. 5 -- San Diego State at Boise State: Boise's hanging by a thread, while San Diego State just continues to win games -- 18 straight at this point. A month ago, these two teams played an ugly brawl that ended in a 69-66 victory for the Aztecs. But now they're playing up in Boise, where the Broncos are 10-1 this season, plus SDSU hasn't been shooting that well of late. Obviously a loss doesn't kill the Aztecs, but this is one of the last true tests remaining on their schedule.
Wednesday, Feb. 5 -- Wyoming at New Mexico: New Mexico's not unstoppable at home, but the Lobos are a formidable opponent playing in Albuquerque and will force Wyoming to be at their best. UNM is still looking at an at-large bid at the moment, but continued winning sures up that position. Wyoming, on the other hand, is just a few games back of real league contention and needs to start grabbing quality victories. A win on the road would go a long way toward a potential tournament berth for the Cowboys, while for the Lobos, it could be a huge blow to their respective postseason hopes.
Saturday, Feb. 8 -- San Jose State at Fresno State: No, this game has no bearing on the MWC race, but for two bitter rivals trying to stay out of the conference basement, this might just feel like it. SJSU has yet to win a league game and it appears their only way out of 11th place is beating the Bulldogs twice and earning a tiebreaker. The Spartans have lost each of their last four games by 20 or more, though. Things are not looking great. And a loss on Saturday may just seal the deal for them as the Mountain West's last-place squad.
Saturday, Feb. 8 -- Wyoming at UNLV: Another big road game for Wyoming this week, this time against UNLV. The Rebels have rebounded from a slow conference start to be just a few games back of first place now. Even if they don't overtake the teams ahead of them, this UNLV group is extremely resilient and will certainly make the conference road difficult the rest of the way. Wyoming needs this win, but so do the Rebels. One of them will be a on an improved path to either the NIT or even the NCAAs following this week. Based on recent play, there's a good chance that team is UNLV.
Saturday, Feb. 8 -- Nevada at San Diego State: Nevada's overall record is unimpressive, but it's the conference mark that matters most right now. The Wolf Pack are right behind SDSU and in need of resume-building victories if they hope to start entering the NCAA conversation. This is a must-win for them, and even then, a victory is only part of what's needed to improve their standing. San Diego State's angling for a No. 1 seed at this point though, so despite the obvious target on their backs, it's not as if they'll be sleeping on the job. A lot hangs in the balance with this game, with the potential to drastically shift the MWC standings and the league race for the rest of the season.
So what do you think? Can San Diego State grab a No. 1 seed? Could Nevada or UNLV also insert themselves into the NCAA tournament conversation with SDSU and UNM? Share your thoughts below.
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