Tag: Mountain West

2018-2019 Mountain West Preview

Preseason Player of the Year:

Caleb Martin, Nevada

Preseason All-Conference Team:

Jordan Caroline, Nevada

Justin James, Wyoming

Caleb Martin, Nevada

Sam Merrill, Utah St

Deshon Taylor, Fresno St

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:

Jordan Brown, Nevada

Projected Order of Finish:

1. Nevada

The Wolfpack will have no peers in this conference as it doesn’t have many peers nationally. Nevada will be one of the best teams in the country and the Mountain West, generally, isn’t a league that’ll have multiple teams that can compete with a team like that. Seniors Caleb and Cody Martin, Jordan Caroline and Lindsey Drew all return to help create one of the more talented and experienced starting fives in America.

2. New Mexico

The Lobos were poised to become a serious NCAA tournament contender, but transfer guard Jaquan Lyle tore his Achilles – dealing a blow to New Mexico’s chances and the possibility for more than one at-large bid from this league. Senior guard Anthony Mathis and sophomore Makuach Maluach return and there are enough quality transfers to keep them in the top half of the league.

3. San Diego St

The Aztecs finished the year on a high note by winning the Mountain West tournament and playing a great first-round game against Houston in the NCAA tournament. They will have to replace Tre Kell, Malik Pope and Max Montana so this season will be a bit of a challenge. Senior guard Devin Watson will have to lead this team while sophomore forwards Jalen McDaniels and Matt Mitchell will be part of bright future for the program.

4. Utah St

Junior guard Sam Merrill and senior Dwayne Brown Jr. return for a Utah St team that’ll be one of the better teams in the Mountain West this season. Merrill will be an all-conference performer, but he’ll need to Brown to step up production to offset the loss of Koby McEwen. Junior guard Diogo Brito will have to produce as well and the Aggies will need their juco transfers to contribute immediately.

5. Fresno St

The Bulldogs lost Bryson Williams, Jaron Hopkins, Ray Bowles and Jahmel Taylor, but there’s enough to keep Fresno competitive in the Mountain West. Senior guard Deshon Taylor will be one of the best players in the conference while transfers Braxton Huggins and Noah Blackwell are well-equipped to make sure Taylor isn’t a one-man show. This team will be just fine in the Mountain West.

6. UNLV

The Rebels aren’t ready to challenge the top of the conference this season, but under coach Marvin Menzies, it’s only a matter of time before they’re at the top of this league and in the national conversation again. Senior Shakur Juiston will lead the team. Freshmen Bryce Hamilton and Trey Woodbury will compete for minutes. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is an intriguing prospect.

7. Wyoming

The Cowboys are going to be a tough out this year with senior guard Justin James at the helm. He’ll be great, but without Hayden Dalton, Alan Herndon and Louis Adams he’ll have to be. Sophomore guard Hunter Maldanado is the top candidate to help James shoulder the load.

8. Boise St

Head coach Leon Rice has done a remarkable job building this program up, but he’ll be without his top three scorers this year in Chandler Hutchison, Christian Sengfelder and Lexus Williams. Senior center Zach Haney and junior forward Justinian Jessup will have to step up while juco transfer Roderick Williams will need to provide an additional boost.

9. Colorado St

This program was in disarray as former coach Larry Eustachy  had to resign in the middle of last season. Despite that, new coach Niko Medved comes with promise and hope for a program that has proven it can be good. Juniors Anthony Bonner and Nico Carvacho and seniors J.D. Paige and Deion James return to give Medved a nice group to work with for this season.

10. Air Force

The military academies are the toughest jobs in Division I basketball. While Army and Navy are better equipped in the Patriot League, it’s a whole other ball game in the Mountain West. The Falcons struggled last season and will most like do so again. Junior forwards Lavelle Scottie and Ryan Swan will be the top players this season.

11. San Jose St

This was one of the very worst teams in the country last season and it may not get much better this season. Head coach Jean Prioleau is in his second season and this rebuild is massive. His top three scorers are all gone. Freshman guard Seneca Knight will be asked to be the savior of this program.

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Fear the North

 

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North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

In the first time since both universities have been Division I participants, both North Dakota and North Dakota St have legitimate shots to  go dancing.

At the publishing of this post, North Dakota is  in first place by a half-game in the Big Sky while North Dakota St is tied for first in the Summit with South Dakota.

This would be quite the feat for the two universities and would give the state bragging rights over the Dakota to the South. Both schools will most likely be 15/16 seeds, but that doesn’t take away of how historic this will be for the state. Besides, the world needs to see North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker in the Big Dance.

Stock Up: Wichita St. As you will see below the Shockers are an No. 8 seed without an at-large resume. That’s because I believe what my eyes tell me when I watch them play. This is a tournament team. They are destroying the Missouri Valley. In 13 of their 15 conference wins, the margin has been double digits. In fact they beat Illinois St, the team they’re tied with for first place, by 41 points earlier this month. You don’t want to see this team in March.

Stock Down: Virginia. I’m starting to wonder if the rest of the ACC has figured Tony Bennett out. It happens from time-to-time, but the Cavaliers are currently on a four-game losing streak and haven’t looked good in the process. There is now a scenario where Virginia is playing in a 7/10 or 8/9 game in the Big Dance.

Stock Up: Bucknell. On Sunday, Bucknell traveled to Boston University to play a game for first place in the Patriot League. When the game was over; there was no doubt. Bucknell throttled Boston 86-66 to take a two-game lead and are now the odds-on favorite to win the automatic bid.

Stock Down: Mountain West. Last week we spoke about the downturn of Conference USA and this week it’s the Mountain West, which appears to be a one-bid league again. Long-term this appears to be more of a blip than a trend as it has major state universities. However, more is expected of this league.

 

Last Four In: TCU, Seton Hall, Syracuse, California

Last Four Out: Alabama, Marquette, Providence, Illinois St

This bracket is good for games through 2/19.

EAST

1.Villanova16.UC Irvine/Mount St Mary’s Buffalo

8.Virginia Tech9.Saint Mary’s

5.Florida St12.Texas-Arlington Orlando

4.Cincinnati13.Monmouth

6.Maryland11.Dayton Orlando

3.Florida14.UNC-Asheville

7.Northwestern10.Kansas St Indianapolis

2.Louisville15.Florida Gulf Coast

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.North Dakota Greenville

8.Oklahoma St9.Michigan

5.Wisconsin12.Nevada Buffalo

4.West Virginia13.Vermont

6.Creighton11.Tennessee Salt Lake City

3.UCLA14.Belmont

7.South Carolina10.USC Tulsa

2.Baylor15.Texas Southern

WEST

1.Gonzaga16.North Dakota St Sacramento

8.Wichita St9.Georgia Tech

5.SMU12.Syracuse/Seton Hall Milwaukee

4.Purdue13.Bucknell

6.Iowa St11.California/TCU Greenville

3.Duke14.Valparaiso

7.VCU10.Michigan St Sacramento

2.Oregon15.Furman

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.North Carolina Central/New Orleans Tulsa

8.Miami(Fl)9.Xavier

5.Notre Dame12.UNC-Wilmington Milwaukee

4.Butler13.Akron

6.Virginia11.Middle Tennessee St Indianapolis

3.Kentucky14.Princeton

7.Minnesota10.Arkansas Salt Lake City

2.Arizona15.CSU Bakersfield

 

 

Flying High

Dayton F Chris Wright
Dayton F Chris Wright

There aren’t many teams in the country playing as well as the Dayton Flyers.  After last weeks win over Xavier, they can now stake claim to being the best team in a solid Atlantic 10. At 23-3 overall and 9-2 in conference, this could be the best team out of talented crop in the state of Ohio.

The Flyers are a deep and balanced team.  Led by Chris Wright in the frontcourt and Marcus Johnson in the backcourt, they could be a sleeper in this year’s tournament.  The flyers have a tough stretch of games coming up, but with the aforementioned win over Xavier in addition to a pre-conference victory over Marquette, I expect this team to be a threat this March.

Stock Up: Mountain West Conference.  This does my heart good.  Five teams have have their sights set on the tournament in this conference (Utah, UNLV, BYU, San Diego St, New Mexico).  I miss the old WAC and I’m glad that some of those traditional powers are back contending.  Utah looks to be the cream of the crop but BYU and UNLV are both capable of doing damage.

Stock Down: Minnesota.  The Gophers are probably still going to make the tournament but losing 5 of 8 isn’t good at all.  The Gophers have a “golden” opportunity to finish strong, but with the way they’re playing I don’t expect them to do much other than just get by.

Stock Up: UAB’s At-large chances.  The Blazers aren’t in my bracket nor are they among my last four in, however, I see the light for them.  The Blazers have six games left including one huge one against Memphis.  This team is fully capable of going undefeated.  If they do that, they’ll be dancing.

Duke G Greg Paulus
Duke G Greg Paulus

Stock Down: Duke.  This is starting to become a recurring theme for the Blue Devils.  World beaters November thru January and then the annual February/March swoon.  It’s looking as if the Blue Devils may not make out of first weekend of the Big Dance again.  Coach K better come up with a way to rally his troops soon because their schedule heading down the stretch is not for the faint of heart.

This week’s Bracket Projections:

Last Four In: Virginia Tech, San Diego St, Penn St, USC

Last Four Out: Miami (FL), Providence, Kansas St, Creighton

This bracket is good for games played thru Sunday, February15, 2009.

SOUTH

1.Oklahoma16.Jacksonville Kansas City, MO

8.Butler9.Boston College

5.Marquette12.San Diego St Minneapolis, MN

4.Illinois13.Northern Iowa

6.Arizona St11.Tennessee Miami, FL

3.Louisville14.Cornell

7.Dayton10.UNLV Greensboro, NC

2.Duke15.Robert Morris

MIDWEST

1.North Carolina16.Cal St. Northridge Greensboro, NC

8.West Virginia9.Davidson

5.Xavier12.Penn St Portland, OR

4.Washington13.Buffalo

6.LSU11.USC Miami, FL

3.Villanova14.Binghampton

7.Utah St10.Minnesota Kansas City, MO

2.Memphis15.North Dakota St

WEST

1.Pittsburgh16. Alabama St/Radford Dayton, OH

8.Wisconsin9.South Carolina

5.Utah12.Siena Boise, ID

4.Clemson13.Arkansas-Little Rock

6.UCLA11.Florida Boise, ID

3.Kansas14.Weber St

7.Florida St10.Syracuse Dayton, OH

2.Michigan St15.Sam Houston St

EAST

1.Connecticut16.Morehead St Philadelphia, PA

8.Gonzaga9.Texas

5.Purdue12.Virginia Tech Portland, OR

4.California13.Northeastern

6.Ohio St11.BYU Philadelphia, PA

3.Wake Forest14.American

7.Arizona10.Kentucky Minneapolis, MN

2.Missouri15.Morgan St