For the third consecutive week, there is a new team representing the Mountain West in Joe Lunardi’s ESPN bracketology.
Boise State, which is in the midst of a five-game winning streak and 9-4 overall, is tied for the conference lead with a 2-0 start to league play. BSU is slotted at 56th in the 68-team bracket, presumably the fourth of four 14 seeds. Coincidentally, Fresno State grabbed a 14-seed last season after topping San Diego State in the MWC tournament championship, the only NCAA Tournament participant from the Mountain West.
The Broncos started the conference season with a 83-80 road victory in Logan over Utah State, its second consecutive victory at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum after a dubious 18-game losing skid that was snapped last January.
BSU then followed the Utah State win by handing Colorado State a 74-73 loss, courtesy of a Chandler Hutchison double-double and a banked three-pointer at the buzzer. Hutchison was unsurprisingly this week’s Mountain West player of the week.
The 12-3 Nevada Wolf Pack, previously a 12-seed in Lunardi’s bracket, pounced on San Jose State before being upset on the road against Fresno State. It was Nevada’s second loss to a team ranked 125th or worse in KenPom this season. The Wolf Pack are the fourth team out in the new bracket.
San Diego State, the preseason favorite in the conference, dropped to 8-5 on the season after a home loss to New Mexico Sunday afternoon. The Aztecs are on the road to play Nevada (Wednesday) and Boise State (Saturday) this week.