clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Stats Corner: How Good are the MWC Basketball Teams


Nevada v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

In a previous years Stats Corner had compared the Mountain West Conference basketball teams with the other Mid Major conferences namely American, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, and West Coast. The MWC is having a great year in basketball so this time on Stats Corner we are going to compare America Atlantic Coastal, PAC 12, and West Coast. The ranking system will be the NCAA NET system, if you need a refresher on the NET system we have one. The conferences will be divided into thirds with the American and Mountain being divided 3-4-4, the ACC 5-5-5, PAC 12 4-4-4 and West Coast 3-4-3 Ranking were taken Wednesday, February 1st.


MWC Average Ranking: 91

PAC 12 Average Ranking: 95

ACC Average Ranking: 109

WCC Average Ranking: 122

AAC Average Ranking: 129

I still argue that the MWC should have called Gonzaga and St Mary’s and made an invite to join the conference. While the MWC has the lowest average, in this case that is a good thing, the other conferences have the highest ranked teams. Basketball is a little different that football, in that every school actually has a chance or competing for the national title. The AAC average might be the lowest of the 5 conferences, if Houston wins a national title, then the weak conference argument will not matter. This average does affect the number of bids a conference will get, the AAC could have a final four contender but only be a one bid conference. If you do not have a school who can contend for a national title, then you need as many bids as possible.

Top Tier

MWC-26: #21 Boise State, #27 San Diego State, #31 Utah State

ACC-29: #4 Virginia, #22 Duke, #38 NC State, #40 Miami, #43 North Carolina

PAC 12-30: #5 UCLA, #10 Arizona, #50 Utah, #55 USC

WCC- 34: #6 St. Mary’s, #12 Gonzaga, #85 LMU

AAC- 36: #1 Houston, #42 Memphis, #66 UCF

These are the headliners and the teams you want competing for an at-large bid. The MWC is highest ranked conference even if it the only conference without a top 10 team, and will does not have the national team as it has in the past with Nevada and San Diego State, but they will probably a 4-bid team. The AAC have Houston, but short of an upset in the conference tournament they will be a one bid league as Memphis and UCF do not have a high chance as an at-large bid. The WCC and PAC 12 are probably 2 bid conferences. And the ACC could have the same number of bids as the MWC.

Second Tier

MWC-63: #34 Nevada, #37 New Mexico, #69 UNLV, #111 San Jose State

PAC 12-65: #57 Oregon, #65 Arizona State, #68 Washington State, #71 Colorado

ACC 70-#54 Virginia Tech, #59 Pittsburgh, #63 Clemson, #72 Wake Forest, #102 Syracuse

AAC-105: #76 Cincinnati, #98 Tulane, #115 Temple, #132 Wichita State

WCC-119: #90 Santa Clara, #95 BYU, #108 San Francisco, #183 Portland

In order to have a high NET ranking you need to play quality schools, this second tier may not grab national attention or at large bids, but they will heavily influence the top tier NET rankings. This is a strong area for the MWC as there are the entire second tier give quad 1 or 2 wins for the NET rankings, especially in the conference tournaments when schools are looking to impress the committee. Also, consider that second tier MWC schools are in the running for an at-large bid without winning the conference tournament. This area is a major weakness for the WCC and AAC. The drop off in quality teams for the WCC is considerable, and will increase even more when BYU leaves. The AAC falls into the familiar pattern of one great school and several above average, they have a habit of doing this in football. Their second tier is not going to drag the conference down, but it’s not really strong enough to help build the resumes of the top teams. The MWC second tier is better than ACC and PAC 12 second tier when it comes to provided quality wins and improving the NET ranking and resumes for the NCAA tournament.

Third Tier

MWC-168: #128 Colorado State, #154 Air Force, #187 Wyoming, #202 Fresno State

PAC 12-189: #120 Stanford, #124 Washington, #214 Oregon State, #296 California

WCC-214: #207 Pepperdine, #213 Pacific, #222 San Diego

AAC-221: #151 South Florida, #217 SMU, #228 East Carolina, #289 Tulsa

ACC-227: #178 Boston College, #186 Notre Dame, #211 Florida State, #231 Georgia Tech, #329 Louisville

These are the teams which need to step it up. Yes, someone needs to be at the bottom of the conference rankings, but they do not need have a low NET ranking. A victory over Pacific is not going to help the resumes and rankings for the tier 1 WCC teams. For the ACC, their lower tier is dragging down the resumes of the tier 1, wins will not improve their rankings and losing will hurt. The all-powerful basketball conference is having a down year in turns of conference depth. The PAC 12 is similar to the MWC as only two schools are ranked considerably lower than the others, to 9 out of 11 or 10 out of 12 solid schools leads to a solid conference. In previous years the MWC would have two or three schools in the 200s and a couple in the 300s. This year, only one school is ranked in the 200s and the Bulldogs are close to getting out of the 200s. If a conference wants to have multiple bids, it cannot have the lowest tier in the low 200s as it drags down the other rankings. Under the NET system, school rankings are connected, so a strong conference cannot afford too many schools to be ranked poorly. The bottom of the MWC in a good position, as is the rest of the conference, it just needs the top teams to make some noise on the national stage and advanced beyond the first round of the NCAA tournament.