The roundtable is back! From now until the start of football, we will bring you a new question with thoughts from our team every Friday. This week’s question will focus on the Mountain West basketball season: What grade would you give the MBB season this year?
Rudy: Regular Season A- (The overall high-level of play throughout the league made for some exciting games)
Post Season D+ (The plus is because of Fresno State)
Zach: I will give it a B. Easily the most exciting regular season we have had in quite a while. But I had a sneaky suspicion that these teams were not ready to compete on a national level and unfortunately that proved to be the case. The Mountain West needs to prove itself in the tournament before it can get the respect it wants.
Mike: I’ll go with a B+ for this men’s basketball season. Criticism for their tournament showing is warranted but let’s not fully give in to recency bias. This season was great. Three different teams were nationally ranked, they appeared towards the top 100 of NET rankings pretty much all season, and they gained national recognition as a strong basketball conference this season. Yes they went 0-4 in the NCAA Tournament, but tournament games are a coin flip. Ask Kentucky and Gonzaga how that can work out sometimes. An ideal situation would have been 2-2 in the first round of games and 1-1 in the second round, meaning one team would have made the Sweet 16. However, the fact that the MWC was an undisputed four-bid league still deserves recognition.
Adam: I’ll give it a B+ as well. During the entire regular season the MWC was the top mid-major conference. Boise State had two wins over Power Five teams. Wyoming had one. Colorado State had one and blew out Creighton earlier in the season. It was never a question that this was a multi-bid conference, but only how many bids was the conference going to receive. With the committee selecting four, it felt like the MWC finally earned the respect it had been missing. Then to go 0-4 in the tournament, I feel that respect has been lost and needs to be earned once again. If not for the 0-4 tournament, this would’ve easily been an A+, but I have to knock the conference on losing out most when it counted most.
Lute: B+. It was an incredible season to watch. There were more really good teams at the top of the conference than we’ve seen in a very, very long time. Unfortunately I can’t give the MW MBB season an A with how the conference performed in the NCAA tournament. Going 0-4 was an absolutely brutal blow to the conference, as it’s going to be near impossible getting that many teams in the tournament going forward, at least until the Mountain West can prove they can win in March. It’s tough that that’s the way this season is going to be remembered because it truly was a magical year, but that’s the reality.
Matt H.: Regular season? A-, although I’m not good at grading because everyone’s interpretation of the grading scale is different. Team- and player-wise, this was the most talented the conference has been in recent memory. Four NCAA tournament bids with six inside KenPom’s top-75 is unprecedented for the MWC. That said, that’s why I’m giving the postseason a D+. Besides Fresno State, the Mountain West had a very underwhelming postseason, especially in the NCAA Tournament. The conference went 0-4 and couldn’t secure any additional units with three teams as the higher seed. Very disappointing last 5 percent to a very fruitful first 95 percent.
Jos: I’m going to give this Men’s Basketball season a B+. There was some great competition from the Mountain West. Almost every conference game was a battle and anyone could win. The reason I did not give the season an A is because of the performance in the NCAA Tournament. Other than performance in that tournament, I think the Mountain West was one of the better conferences in the country. I mean Fresno State won the CollegeInsider.com Tournament which is not as big as the NCAA Tourney, but it’s still a win. Also I would like to think about the players. There will be a few guys like Orlando Robinson and Bryce Hamilton who will be drafted in late June this year. Overall with the level of play and competition, this Mountain West basketball season was a fun one to watch.
Aiden: I will stick a B+ on this season. It was so close to being the new standard for Mountain West basketball when it came to the depth of the conference. Teams such as Air Force and New Mexico put a scare into the leaders despite their positioning and there was hardly any “gimme game” from January onward. Having four teams in the NCAA Tournament was a huge accomplishment, but when it came to performing on the biggest stage, none of them could carry the conference beyond a first round exit. There was an abundance of talent this year and multiple players should hear their name called in the NBA Draft.