Mountain West Tournament 2023: Expert Picks and Predictions
The best time of the year has arrived: March Madness!
With Selection Sunday one week away, the conference tournaments are heating up, and we have already previewed a few of the bigger ones, like the Big Ten. This time let us examine the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The MWC could see five teams headed for the Big Dance, and the only team ranked in the top 25 is San Diego State, although all of Boise State, Nevada, Utah State, and New Mexico have had strong seasons.
Here is the breakdown and seedings for the tournament, which begins on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
There are three games on Wednesday, with the Fresno State-Colorado State winner facing SDSU. The UNLV-Air Force winner gets Boise State, and the winner of New Mexico-Wyoming gets Utah State.
This seems like an easy pick. Yes, the San Diego State Aztecs should win. They are 24-6 and have won seven of the last eight games, with the loss coming to Boise State by six points on the road at the end of February.
The Aztecs are locked into the NCAA Tournament field and are a 6-seed in the latest bracketology, and they should have a semi-decent path to get to the MWC final.
SDSU’s path will likely be Colorado State, then Nevada, and then either Utah State, New Mexico, or Boise State in the final.
However, let’s examine a couple of teams that can make a surprising run. One is UNLV.
Yes, the Running Rebels are just 18-12 on the year, but this is the same tam that began with 10 straight wins and had everybody buzzing in Sin City. Plus, the Rebels get home-court advantage. If they beat Air Force on Wednesday, they have a decent matchup against Boise State before what would be a tough semifinals matchup, but crazier things have happened.
UNLV has not beaten Boise this year, so that hurts, but if they can get hot, they could be a team to watch, although they are a long shot.
One other team to keep an eye on (apart from the top four) is New Mexico. The Lobos were the last undefeated team in college basketball, but they have fallen hard down the stretch and have lost seven of the last nine games, including an 8-point loss to Colorado State on Friday.
But, if they beat Wyoming, they get Utah State in a difficult matchup. Nonetheless, this team was in the top 25 and cruising through the schedule before a few bumps, and if they can channel that feeling, they could make a deep run in Las Vegas.
The Aztecs just look much better than every other team in the MWC, and they should have no issues getting another MWC Tournament title this year.
They should get tested in every game, especially with the wildness that has been the MWC this year, but the senior leadership of Matt Bradley and Nathan Mensah steps up as they try and build momentum in hopes of finally winning an NCAA Tournament game.