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Mountain West and the NCAA Tournament

A look into the Mountain West and how they stand before March Madness

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Villanova vs West Virginia Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot of... unknowns about the Mountain West currently.

Utah State was first place in the Mountain West and they looked to be in great position after sweeping San Diego State. The Aggies would then be swept by Boise State.

Boise State looked to be in great position after sweeping Utah State but was then swept by San Diego State.

Even though Boise State held first place just a week ago, they are now fourth place but are only 0.5 games back from first place.

San Diego State is now the conference leader and will rise in the top 25 after the two wins against Boise State.

Utah State stands at third place and is one game back from first place, which is interesting considering Boise State is behind Utah State in the standings but is only 0.5 games back instead of one or more games like Utah State.

There are a total of two games separating the top four teams and there are still important games to play before the conference tournament.

All that being said, there is a possibility that four teams are going to make the tournament.

San Diego State, sitting at 19-4 (13-3) and currently on a 10 game win streak, is a lock. They have some significant wins over UCLA, Arizona State, and Boise State and the wins over the Bruins and the Sun Devils were at the time ranked in the top 25. With a single game at UNLV remaining, the Aztecs should finish the regular season at 20-4 (14-3). Jerry Palm of CBS Sports predicts that San Diego State will be a nine seed playing Xavier. Joe Lunardi of ESPN has the Aztecs as an eight seed playing Oregon. There shouldn’t be a need for San Diego State to win the Mountain West tournament or even to make it to the semi finals especially with the wins over Boise State, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Aztecs win the tournament and get a higher seeding in the tournament.

Colorado State stands in second place and is 0.5 games away from first place with games against Air Force, New Mexico, and Nevada remaining. Colorado State is 15-4 (12-3) and they have important wins over San Diego State, Utah State, and Boise State. They are currently predicted as a 10 seed by Palm and as the the last team in by Lunardi. The Rams need to avoid a loss in the final three games and will also need to avoid a bad loss in the Mountain West tournament to feel more comfortable about their chances of making the tournament.

Utah State, who sits at third place and is one game back from first, is 15-7 (12-4), and has important wins over San Diego State twice and Colorado State. The problem for the Aggies is getting swept by Boise State, which has removed them from Jerry Palm’s bracketology predictions. Lunardi has the Aggies as a next four out team. What this means for the Aggies is that they may need to make it to the semi finals or even finals in order to have a chance to make March Madness. Just a week ago when Utah State played Boise State the chances for the Aggies looked pretty good but a week later it is murky. The good thing for Utah State is that they have been very competitive in their conference games and should they face San Diego State again, the Aggies could come out looking confident knowing they have already bested the Aztecs twice.

Boise State is in fourth place after getting swept by San Diego State but is only 0.5 games away from first place and the Broncos sit at 18-6 (14-5). The Broncos have significant wins over Sam Houston State, BYU, Colorado State, and Utah State twice. Boise State had a competitive loss to Houston at the beginning of the season and also has a bad loss to Colorado State and two losses to Nevada in addition to the two losses to San Diego State. Palmer has Boise State playing Georgia Tech in the First Four as an 11 seed and Lunardi has Boise State as a 10 seed playing Missouri, though that bracketology hasn’t been updated since February 26th. Boise State is still very much alive in the tournament and getting to the semi finals of the conference tournament could lock them into March Madness.

So, the point to take away is that the top four teams in the Mountain West are still alive in the hunt for a spot in March Madness. It is unlikely that all four teams get in but it is quite possibly that maybe three teams get in and highly likely that at least two teams are able to make it. There is still time left before the conference tournament but the answer of which Mountain West teams get into the NCAA Tournament will come on March 14th and teams will wait with baited breath to find out the answer to this very important and familiar question: Who is in?