It will be a sprint to the finish. The MW is a log jam in the middle with Fresno State University, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and University of Wyoming tied for 3rd place at 7-5 at a half game back is University of New Mexico and Utah State. The top five teams get a bye in the MW Basketball Tournament. It looks like Nevada (kpr 19) and Boise State University (kpr 53) have enough separation to have the top two spots, so that leaves five teams fighting for three spots.
A look at the remaining schedule for the five teams looking for those three spots shows the following. Fresno State University (kpr 74) looks to be in a favorable position for one of those spots because they play San Jose State University on the road, get Colorado State University at home, at UNLV, at Air Force Academy and University of New Mexico. I think they have a legit chance of winning four out of the last six games. That should get them a spot.
University of Wyoming’s last six games are at San Diego State University (kpm 78), SJSU, UNM, at FSU, Air Force, at BSU. If UW (kpr 117) wins all games at home and split on the road they will be 3-3. If they hold at home and pick up a game on the road they could be 4-2. The Pokes could be in if they win four of six.
UNLV (kpr 71) looks to have the toughest schedule of the teams tied for third place right now with Air Force, at SDSU, FSU, at UNM, Nevada, at Utah State. UNLV hasn’t been blown out all year but on the other hand they haven’t blown any quality teams out either. They have been good on the road but not as good at home. Javon Mooring can be dynamic one game and then good on others. I could see this team losing four of these games easily but on the other hand they could win five of them because they are very talented and seem to be gaining momentum.
Utah State University (kpr 127) has three out of their last five games on the road at New Mexico, Air Force and San Jose State. Their final two home games are against Nevada and UNLV. It is easy the see USU finishing out 3-2 with two road wins and one home win but possibly two home wins because the Spectrum is a very hard place to pick up a road win. Ask Boise State who lost there Saturday.
The University of New Mexico (kpr 121) has three home games at the Pitt against USU, UNLV, and Fresno St. Their two road games are at Colorado State and Wyoming. It is easy to see the Lobo’s finishing with four wins out of their last five games. They have already beat UNLV in Las Vegas and USU in Logan and they have one of the best home court advantages in the league. But they are on a two game losing streak and have lost three out of four. They just may be running out of gas, their press isn’t creating the turnovers that was but it is giving the opposition lots of easy baskets at the rim.
My best guess for the last three spots are Fresno State, New Mexico and UNLV, in that order. I struggled with the last pick because I think Utah State has a better schedule than UNLV to close out the season, but I think the Rebels have more talent by far and have played very good on the road. Wyoming is a real good team too with height, an active defense that creates turnovers and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get one of the spots either. Whoever the three teams that get a bye are they will have earned that extra game off. No team has ever won the MW Tournament that had to play the play-in game so the stakes are high every game from here. This should be fun, unless your a coach.
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