It’s almost February, which means March is a month away. And March means March Madness.
As we are getting closer to the NCAA Tournament, more and more bracketology projections are coming out from almost every major media outlet.
It might be hard to keep track of all the bracketology reports, but fortunately, the Mountain West Conference made this helpful guide that has its teams featured and where they are in some of the more notable bracketology reports.
As we get deeper into conference play, the top four teams, and second-tier teams like Nevada, Fresno State, and Utah State, will all play each other more. Meaning there is a greater possibility for parity and losses for the top four teams.
The Mountain West is barreling headlong into that mid-major conundrum where a league has "too many good teams" that beat each other in league play — because that's what happens in league play —and then it's later used as incriminating evidence to withhold at-large bids from them.— Andy Dieckhoff (@andrewdieckhoff) January 27, 2022
Fresno State and Utah State are both in the top-100 NET teams, but neither are NCAA Tournament teams, so losses against those teams would not help each of the top four team’s resumes. So the top four teams could fall down in any bracketology projection if they suffer a couple of losses even though those won’t be bad losses.
That is a similar possibility to last year when teams like Colorado State and Boise State lost late in the season and ultimately missed the NCAA Tournament. But, there is still plenty of time for each of these teams to pick up quality wins and move up in the rankings.
So as the league still sorts itself out, here is this week’s bracketology report:
The Rams are the top Mountain West team when it comes to their NET rankings. They are also featured in all of the major bracketology projections, sitting comfortably in the seven to nine seed range. As mentioned previously, Colorado State is the Mountain West team that is in the best position to make the tournament, with the best resume and highest seed ranking in all bracketology reports. Last week Colorado State was in a close game against Nevada and it showed the Rams that they are vulnerable, so they will have to be careful going against some of the middle-tier teams in the conference, but I don’t see the Rams faltering that much.
Despite Colorado State having the best overall record and being the safest, when it comes to bracketology projections, it’s Boise State that is in first place. Riding a 13-game winning streak, Boise State is being projected as either one of the last teams in or as the conference’s automatic qualifier, by being in first place. The Broncos picked up a pair of Quad 1 wins against San Diego State and Wyoming that will boost their resume. The wins appear to be helping Boise State overcome a Quad 3 and Quad 4 loss. If Boise State is able to pick up a win against Colorado State that would bolster its resume even more since the Rams are 16-1 and a top-25 NET team.
San Diego State
The Aztecs are down to 49th in the most recent NET rankings. A 75-57 loss at Utah State has dropped them a few spots after a bizarre last four games for San Diego State. There was the 30-point win against Colorado State, a 37-point performance at home in a loss to Boise State, a beatdown of UNLV, and another blowout in Logan. The Aztecs have been the most inconsistent team, among the top four in the conference and it is hurting them. They have now dropped to the 11-seed range. Lunardi has them as one of the last four teams in, playing in a play-in game. The Aztecs will have to figure out their inconsistencies or else they might be playing in the three-letter tournament.
The Cowboys did not fall too far after their loss on the road against Boise State. But, it was a missed opportunity in a game Wyoming held the lead in the final three minutes. Despite the loss, Wyoming has hardly fallen with the loss, it is still in the first four out grouping. The Cowboys still have a high NET ranking which would suit them well, but they still need that signature win on their resume. The Cowboys get a chance to play both Colorado State and San Diego State next week, and if they can pull off two wins against one of those two teams, or both, they could boost up their resume.