Football season is behind us and we are already heading into the homestretch of college basketball season. The Mountain West is having one of its strongest seasons in recent memory and should be a multi-bid team to the NCAA tournament. This week we are going to focus on good teams (teams in NCAA contention), bad teams (teams that won’t make it, but could play spoiler), and ugly teams (teams that have been getting destroyed on a consistent basis).
The Broncos are firmly in the tournament right now. But this team still has a lot to prove, especially after that first game in Fort Collins. The Broncos have arguably the best athletes in the Mountain West, but they have been really boom or bust and rely on long runs to win their games. As they head into the roughest stretch of their schedule, the Broncos need to be more consistent beyond the arc, and it might be time for Derrick Alston to take over.
The Aggies might be the most dangerous team in the conference; they are well balanced and dominate games in the paint. There really aren’t a lot of teams in the conference that match up well with them. But, their early season struggles might come back to haunt them and leave them on the outside looking in. They can’t afford any more losses like their first game against UNLV.
San Diego State
You don’t want to play this team when they are clicking. The Aztecs easily have the best out of conference resume with multiple wins over PAC 12 foes. But their struggles in recent weeks have hurt their resumes. The Aztecs have an easy schedule before their season-ending series with Boise State. A split there and they are probably in the tournament.
Much to my surprise, the Rams are probably playing the best basketball in the Mountain West right now. They have wins over San Diego State, Boise State, and Utah State. If they can win both games over Nevada, they have an excellent shot at making the NCAA tournament. This is also a very young team and might be the conference favorite next year.
This is a dangerous team. Their out of conference play gives them no chance at making the tournament, but they are starting to play their best basketball. UNLV played Colorado State tough in both games and stole a game from Utah State. They could spoil things for Boise State next week.
The Cowboys are really inconsistent. They got destroyed by Boise State, but managed to sweep Nevada. They are young and have plenty of talent. Can they spoil things for Utah State? I’m not so sure.
It’s been kind of a disappointing season for the Wolf Pack considering their recent success. Losing two games to Wyoming was kind of the tip of the iceberg. This team is really struggling right now, but they have landed some transfers and should be headed in the right direction. They have a real chance to play spoiler, as they still have to play Boise State, Utah State, and Colorado State.
The Bulldogs have done well against lesser teams, but they weren’t really competitive against Boise State and Colorado State. I’m not sure they have what it takes to compete with Utah State, San Diego State, or even UNLV for that matter.
The Falcons are a tricky team. The Princeton offense can be really difficult to defend, and they were able to give Boise State fits for small portions of their games. But, they haven’t been able to keep games with good teams to single digits; they also lost to San Jose State.
San Jose State
This might sound crazy, but I think this team is making steps in the right direction. However, this program is still a long way from being a contender. They have some really good shooters and athletes, but a lack of consistency has plagued them.
New Mexico has the worst record in the Mountain West. A few years ago, the concept of New Mexico being this bad at basketball seemed impossible. A school rich in basketball history has now reached the bottom of the conference.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” What are your takes on the Mountain West basketball season to this point? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.