Basketball season is less than a month away.
Depending on how your football team is doing, you might have already been looking at this year’s schedule.
The Mountain West sent four teams to the NCAA Tournament last season, though they didn’t fare too well. (We don’t need to talk about that anymore).
But this is a new year and there is a lot to be excited about in this year’s iteration of Mountain West basketball. If you haven’t taken a deep dive into the schedule, don’t worry. We have you covered.
Here are the top 10 conference games this season to watch:
Colorado State at New Mexico (Dec. 28)
On the first day of conference games in the Mountain West, we get this intriguing matchup between the Rams and Lobos. Colorado State is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance but lost David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens is out “indefinitely” with a foot injury. New Mexico is expected to be improved in Richard Pitino’s second year. Even though it is the first game of league play for both teams, we should find out on the first night the trajectory for each team for the rest of the season.
San Diego State at Wyoming (Jan. 7)
The official Mountain West preseason poll has not been released, but it is widely expected that San Diego State will be the preseason favorite and Wyoming will be second. The Aztecs are No. 19 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll and Wyoming was among “others receiving votes.” The Aztecs, as usual, have reloaded led by Seattle transfer Darrion Trammell. The Cowboys have done their fair share of work in the transfer portal, picking up a couple of PAC-12 transfers to add to their returning core.
Colorado State at UNLV (Jan. 14)
There are a lot of questions surrounding Colorado State, specifically how they will look without Stevens. But there are just as many questions for UNLV, which has nine new players in Kevin Kruger’s second year. Six players are from Division-I programs and the Rebels will have to replace Bryce Hamilton, the team’s leading scorer the past two seasons.
Boise State at Wyoming (Jan. 14)
The Cowboys benefit from playing some of the better Mountain West teams at home early in the season. After getting the expected preseason favorites at home, they also host the reigning conference champion Broncos. Boise State lost several key members from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, including Emmanuel Akot and Abu Kigab. This game could have more meaning to the Broncos to see if they can contend again in the Mountain West.
San Diego State at Colorado State (Jan. 18)
Depending on Steven’s status, this could be a pretty important game for both teams. If Colorado State has any chance of trying to make it back to the NCAA Tournament, they will need to pick up a win against San Diego State. All four of the games between these two schools have been exciting with a few coming down to the wire, so expect this one to be an exciting one too.
Colorado State at Wyoming (Jan. 21)
Border War games are always fun. Even if Colorado State might not be at the level they were last year, this should be an exciting, close game. Once again, the Cowboys have the benefit of a home court against one of the top-half teams in the league. Both games went down to the wire last year with Wyoming prevailing in overtime in Laramie and Colorado State holding serve with a six-point win later in February.
Boise State at San Diego State (Feb. 3)
This is a rematch of the 2022 Mountain West Championship Game that saw Boise State edge out San Diego State 53-52. The Broncos were also victorious in the team’s two regular season matchups. While Boise State might not be in a place to repeat or make a run at the NCAA Tournament, both teams always play each other close, so this should be an exciting game.
San Diego State at Utah State (Feb. 8)
For some reason, the Aztecs always have issues in Logan, Utah. San Diego has lost their last three games at the Smith Spectrum. While the Aztecs will likely have a significant advantage over this Aggie team, you never know what can happen in Logan. San Diego State could be on upset watch.
Boise State at Colorado State (Feb. 15)
By this point in the season, we’ll know exactly what these teams are and where they stand in the Mountain West. If fully healthy, both teams could be competing for NIT berths, at a minimum. This game could have importance as far as seeding for the Mountain West Tournament, but it also helps either team’s resume if they are on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
Wyoming at San Diego State (March 4)
The Mountain West title could be on the line depending on how the whole season plays out. With the Cowboys and Aztecs projected to finish near the top of the league, this could be a preview of a potential Mountain West Championship Game in the conference tournament. This game could also have NCAA Tournament implications if both teams are as good as expected.