The first week of the regular season has concluded, and there is a clear cut front runner for the Mountain West title. Nevada has met its lofty preseason expectations and opened the season with a dominating victory over a Utah State team that might very well finish second in the conference. We might already be past the point of wondering if anyone can challenge Nevada; the focus may need to turn to how the conference can secure a second bid in the NCAA tournament. Here is where I see Mountain West teams finishing the season:
Nevada: After an emphatic loss to the Lobos, Nevada has dropped to a four seed. The Wolf Pack have a nice signature victory over an Arizona State squad that has only one loss and recently defeated Kansas. I think Nevada will land in the West or Midwest region; I am going to go with the West for this set of projections.
Utah State: The Aggies are being considered a fringe tournament team by experts at the moment. A close game against Nevada likely would have kept them there. However, the Aggies did not put up much of a battle in Reno, and this will like drop them to the first four out. I currently have Utah State hosting an NIT game as a three seed.
Fresno State: The Bulldogs are a tough team to gauge. Some nights they look like they can be really good; other nights they look over matched. For that reason, I don’t think they are anywhere close to sniffing the NCAA tournament. They will likely compete with Utah State for an NIT appearance. Right now I am projecting the Bulldogs to the CBI.
Are there any other teams that have a shot to reach the postseason? What are your thoughts?