There will be a bracket in just over a month from now. And the question for Mountain West fans is how many teams will hear their name called on Selection Sunday?
Things are getting tighter on the bubble, with teams projected in the field losing, like BYU, and other teams moving onto the bubble, like Michigan. And as always, there are the possibilities of bid-stealers, ask Colorado State about that.
Depending on where you look, there could be four Mountain West teams projected in, like with Jerry Palm from CBS Sports, or just three like in Joe Lunardi’s for ESPN. Or maybe you think there are five NCAA Tournament caliber teams, like our friend Jon Rothstein.
Regardless, there is still a month to play and much work to be done for some teams. Here is this week’s bracketology report of where the teams in the Mountain West stand.
The Rams have settled into the nine to 10 seed range in most of the recent bracketology projections. Colorado State was in a tough stretch where they lost to UNLV and Wyoming. Compared to the other teams on this list, Colorado State has the best resume and some of the teams they have beaten in non-conference play are on the bubble, so they have the head-to-head advantage against those teams. There is an opportunity for the Rams to avenge its losses against the Runnin’ Rebels and Cowboys, as well as getting a sweep of Utah State and two more games with Boise State.
Boise State is in a comfortable spot for an at-large spot and it appears its early-season losses might have been forgotten, as long as they stay off the bubble. The Broncos are currently projected to be in the eight-nine game in most bracketology projections. Boise State is in a much better spot than they were last year, going on a 14-game winning streak has helped its resume. The Broncos play Colorado State twice in the last month and get San Diego State at home, going 2-1 in those games and avoiding another bad loss could take all the stress off Boise State come conference tournament time.
Wyoming has moved up significantly in many bracketology projections. They are as high as a seven seed in HeatCheckCBB’s latest bracketology. The Cowboys have racked up quality wins against Boise State, Colorado State, and a season sweep of Utah State and all those wins have helped them in their rankings and resume. Looking at the rest of their schedule, there is a road game at Colorado State and a home matchup with San Diego State, which are the only teams on this list that they play again this year. There are tough matchups and possible trap games, like UNLV, Nevada, and Fresno State, but the road to an at-large bid looks fairly clear for a Wyoming team that has answered the call several times this conference season.
San Diego State
San Diego State has fallen out of several bracketology projections and is now one of the “First Teams Out.” Other teams around them have won and moved up. There are also the realizations of possible bid stealers, like in Lunardi’s projections, he has Northern Iowa as the Missouri Valley’s AQ since they are in first place, thus making Loyola Chicago an at-large team and moving San Diego State down. We saw it last year with two big-stealers from big conferences, so San Diego State has little wiggle room and a loss too many to some teams below them in the standings, and its chances of an at-large spot could be at zero.
For a brief moment, Utah State was on the bubble. They were one of the “Next Four Out,” teams in Lunardi’s bracketology report. But, the recent loss to Wyoming dropped them out. It would have been a big boost to the Aggies’ resume and moved them up in any projections. But, the Aggies don’t have that win and they are also at 10 losses. It is very rare to have a mid-major team with that many losses to get an at-large spot, but the Aggies are showing they can steal a bid come conference tournament time.