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January 14th Mountain West Bracketology Report

Where do the Mountain West teams stand in the latest bracketology report.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountain West had its first big shake-up when San Diego State took down previously unbeaten Colorado State last Saturday.

Not only was it Colorado State’s first loss, but San Diego State picked up a quality win to boost its NCAA Tournament resume. And the Aztecs have taken first place in the Mountain West standings at the very early point of the conference season.

After the last week that has seen the Ram and Aztecs battle, and a plethora of COVID postponements, let’s see where the Mountain West teams stand in this week’s bracketology report.

Colorado State

Record: 12-1

NET Ranking: 41

The Rams suffered their first defeat of the season last Saturday to San Diego State. And while they were embarrassed in the second half, it wasn’t a bad loss and will not drag down the Rams too much in any bracketology projections. Their resume from the non-conference should be solid enough to keep them out of danger of falling out of the field.

They have dropped down to a nine seed in ESPN’s full bracketology predictions that came out midweek. The other bracketology reports from CBS Sports and Heat Check CBB have Colorado State as a six and seven seed, respectively. Unless there is a catastrophic collapse by them, they should be around an eight or nine seed for the tournament.

San Diego State

Record: 10-3

NET Ranking: 40

The Aztecs picked up their second-best win of the season after a dominating home win against the Rams last Saturday. The win moved San Diego State to 10-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play. And now as first place in the conference, many bracketologists now have San Diego State in, but as the Mountain West automatic qualifier. As is the case with Joe Lunardi’s bracketology, where the Aztecs are listed as an AQ.

San Diego State is on a COVID pause, as it has had to postpone three games against Wyoming, New Mexico, and UNLV. All three were presumably games the Aztecs would have been favored in and getting a win against Wyoming would boost their resume. Ideally, San Diego State would want as many games to be rescheduled to boost its win total, but they have created a solid resume where they should not be punished too badly.

Boise State

Record: 11-4

NET Ranking: 44

Boise State has moved up 44 in the NET after its win on the road against Nevada, which is its highest positioning of the season. The Broncos are riding an eight-game winning streak, where they have won six of those games by double-digits. Their defense has quietly been one of the best in the country, as KenPom has the Broncos’ adjusted defensive efficiency ranked 14th in the country.

Lunardi has them in his “next four out” grouping, which is where they should be since they have a Quad 3 and 4 loss. Boise State should win its next two games against New Mexico and Air Force. They then embark on a four-game stretch on the road against Utah State, San Diego State, at home to Wyoming, and back on the road to Fresno State. Anything less than a 3-1 record during that stretch would be a letdown for Boise State and will drop them in any bracketology projections.

Wyoming

Record: 11-2

NET Ranking: 31

Somehow, without playing a game since Dec. 25, the Cowboys have found themselves on the bubble. Their 31 ranking in the NET has a lot to do with it, but aside from that, they do not have many impressive wins. Wyoming has the highest NET ranking of any Mountain West team and its NET is higher than most teams on the bubble with them.

In Jerry Palm’s projections for CBS Sports, Wyoming has the highest NET of the last four teams in and the first four teams out. And the same goes for Heat Check CBB’s projections that also have Wyoming as one of the first four teams out. The Cowboys are also in Mike DeCourcey’s field as one of the last four in. I feel Wyoming is closer to where Lunardi has them in that group behind the “next four out,” simply because of its weak schedule and lack of games played in recent weeks. Utah State awaits Wyoming this week and could be its first quality win with the Aggies ranked 62 in the NET.