clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023-24 Mountain West Basketball Bracketology: January 5

Eight of 11 teams have began MW action!

Syndication: The Coloradoan Logan Newell/The Coloradoan / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mountain West action officially tipped off Tuesday, with eight of the conference’s 11 teams playing their first conference game at the time of this publishing. With that, we will be beginning our annual bracketology outlook each Friday leading up to Selection Sunday, where we discuss the NCAA Tournament odds for the most likely candidates! We have five teams make the list this week with one team—Boise State—on the outside looking in.

OK, no more spoilers! Let’s hop into it!

Colorado State (12-1, 1-0)

NET: 21

KenPom: 27

Lunardi: 5-seed

Bracket Matrix: 41 (out of 41)

Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 4.37

Skinny: Even though they dropped to second in the Mountain West in NET, the Rams still appear to have the best odds of any MW team to make the tournament if the season ended today. No team in the Mountain West has more Quad 1-2 wins (5)—even though its win over Louisiana Tech recently shifted from a Q2 to a Q3 win. They opened MW play with a convincing eight-point win over New Mexico Wednesday and will have an opportunity to greatly improve its resume with Utah State on Saturday and Boise State on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

Nevada (13-1, 0-0)

NET: 34

KenPom: 38

Lunardi: 8-seed

Bracket Matrix: 41 (out of 41)

Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 8.63

Skinny: Nevada, led by All-MWC guards Kenan Blackshear and Jarod Lucas, will open conference play this weekend with Fresno State (Quad 3) and Air Force (Quad 4) on Tuesday. They have the conference’s best record at 13-1 and are the only MW team with multiple Quad 1 wins—coming over Washington and TCU, who rank No. 66 and 42 in NET, respectively. In fact, the Wolf Pack are one of four teams nationally—joining Houston (No. 1 in NET), Purdue (3) and Villanova (29)—with multiple Quad 1 wins without a loss. They had the fifth-easiest non-conference schedule in the MW, but have taken care of business when they needed to, which is all you can ask for.

New Mexico (12-2, 0-1)

NET: 35

KenPom: 37

Lunardi: Last Four In

Bracket Matrix: 38 (out of 41)

Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 10.05

Skinny: After an ice-cold first half offensively combined with foul trouble from Jaelen House, the Lobos suffered an eight-point loss to the Rams in Fort Collins, Colo., to open up conference action. It snapped the Lobos’ 11-game win streak and it only dropped them one spot in the NET as a result. New Mexico is the only team in this week’s bracketology without a Quad 1 win (0-2), and it won’t earn a bite at that apple until Friday, Jan. 12 against San Diego State.

San Diego State (12-2, 1-0)

NET: 20

KenPom: 21

Lunardi: 6-seed

Bracket Matrix: 41 (out of 41)

Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 6.15

Skinny: San Diego State is playing arguably its best basketball of the season, which included picking up a convincing Quad 1 win against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. The Zags are off to an unusually slow start, but that’s still a great win for an SDSU squad that was treading on thin ice for much of conference play, even if its record didn’t suggest as such. A win is a win, in the end. The Aztecs have a pair of Quad 3 contests in UNLV and SDSU before a stretch of four-of-five stretch against Quad 1 foes, beginning with UNM on Jan. 12.

Utah State (13-1, 1-0)

NET: 26

KenPom: 44

Lunardi: 10-seed

Bracket Matrix: 36 (out of 41)

Average Bracket Matrix Seed: 10.86

Skinny: Danny Sprinkle has done a phenomenal job with this Aggies team thus far—and that’s even an understatement. Utah State has won 12 straight with four Quad 1-2 wins this season; Bradley, its lone Quad 2 loss, has surged up the NET Rankings of late, which could Utah State’s long-term prospects, should they keep winning. It will have a great opportunity to crack the top-25 in the NET this weekend with its home MW opener against No. 13 Colorado State.