Mountain West school presidents announced earlier this week that they are planning to make changes to strengthen non-conference basketball schedules. The past two seasons, the MWC has sent just its conference tournament winner to the NCAA Tournament. The conference produced three or more tournament teams in a four-year stretch from the 2010 to 2013 season. Scheduling tough teams in November and December continue to be an issue for the MWC.
To improve the schedules, the board of directors concluded that they will do the following:
- Use metrics to better assemble non-conference schedules
- Be given assistance in balancing games that are played at home or on the road
- Athletic directors will work with coaches to piece together schedules that better resemble that of the MWC football programs
This past season, Nevada (the MWC tournament autobid), played just one top 100 KenPom non-conference opponent, despite its growing national label. Boise State played two top 50 KenPom teams in November, UNLV had four top 30 KenPom teams on its non-conference schedule, and San Diego State had just one.
Because of the Mountain West’s identity as a mid-major conference, non-conference schedules are imperative to tournament bids. In recent years, both Colorado State and San Diego State fell just short of picking up at-large bids due to their lack of quality opponents on the non-conference schedules. The Mountain West presidents hope that these changes will lead to formidable schedules in the future.