It’s almost that time! It’s almost March! While you try to temper your excitement, let’s dive into this week’s bracketology discussion!
Boise State (22-6, 12-3)
Joe Lunardi’s Bracket: 9-seed
Bracket Matrix Tracker (out of 107, as of Feb. 23): 107
Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 10.08
Skinny: Boise State remained a near-lock to make the NCAA Tournament with its five-point win over New Mexico on Wednesday. It’s still 9-4 in Quad 1 and 2 affairs and are close to racking up even more if Nevada and Utah Valley can move up in the NET. Boise State is sitting in a good spot now resume-wise, and would likely be the second most-likely at-large bid if the season ended today. And they remain in the hunt for the Mountain West regular season title for the second consecutive season, but will meet with SDSU Tuesday to ultimately determine that likelihood.
New Mexico (20-8, 7-8)
Joe Lunardi’s Bracket: Next Four Out
Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 11.17
Skinny: New Mexico is still on the outside-looking-in, with its tournament chances looking glimmer and glimmer by the day. Wednesday’s loss dropped them to below .500 in conference play; if you’re in the Big 12 or Big Ten, that might be passable for an at-large bid. In the Mountain West? That won’t fly, no matter how good the conference has been. They are 6-4 in Quad 1 and 2 games with two more opportunities against San Diego State and Colorado State — games that they really can’t afford to lose, at this point.
Nevada (21-7, 11-4)
Joe Lunardi’s Bracket: No. 9 seed, last four byes
Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 9.65
Skinny: Its loss to Utah State stings, as it was likely their last opportunity to gain another Quad 1-2 win this regular season. If Akron — ranked No. 101 in the NET — moves up one more spot, Nevada would have its ninth win within the top-two quadrants. Instead, it’s 8-7 in such games with the remaining three scheduled contests against Quad 3 opponents — all of which they should win. They’re all but eliminated from regular season title contention, but they’d still (likely) be in the tournament if the season ended today.
San Diego State (22-5, 13-2)
Joe Lunardi’s Bracket: 6-seed
Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 5.84
Skinny: San Diego State is practically a lock to make the tournament one way or another. It’s playing for seeding, and it has two huge Quad 1 opportunities coming up with New Mexico and Boise State on the road. If they can secure both of those, Brian Dutcher’s squad could be looking at 1.) Another regular season title (Drink) and 2.) a top-5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. This next week is still big for them.
Utah State (22-7, 11-5)
Joe Lunardi’s Bracket: First Four Out
Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 10.92
Skinny: Utah State’s won three straight and picked up another Quad 2 win — its sixth — over Nevada, but there’s still on the outside of the bubble. At this point, the Aggies might need to win the Mountain West Tournament in order to qualify, although they’ll have two more Quad 1-2 games to close the regular season with UNLV and Boise State. Still, it’s not looking ideal for the Aggies, even though they’re still positioned just outside the top-30 in the NET.