Winner Game 7 vs.
The one-year honeymoon of the post-Steve Alford era at New Mexico fizzled this season, leaving a hole that's been filled more by a group than any one dominant force. Boise State, San Diego State and Colorado State battled near the top of the standings for most of the regular season, with the Broncos clinching the regular-season title.
Although they tied with the Aztecs in terms of conference record, the Broncos owned the head-to-head tiebreaker. Boise State finished in the conference and is overall, which should put it in a position to earn an NCAA tournament berth regardless of how the Broncos fare in Las Vegas.
That said, the three at the top are far from the only competitive teams making the trip to the Thomas and Mack Center. Utah State and Wyoming each looked like potential conference champions at different points, and Fresno State has been playing the spoiler for months after an abysmal nonconference performance.
When looking at the intraconference results, the lone complete walkover was San Jose State—which coincidentally happens to be ineligible for postseason play.
With that in mind, this should be one of the better mid-major events on this year's docket. Let's take a quick look at the schedule and preview for the Mountain West tournament.
San Diego State, with a win over Utah and a closer loss against Arizona during nonconference play, has likely played its way into the tournament for the sixth straight season.
Even if the Aztecs drop a game early in Vegas, they created enough goodwill in last year's Sweet 16 run to at least win a couple of tiebreakers with the committee. More interesting are the resumes presented by Boise State and Colorado State.
Both are probably in if we eliminated conference tournaments and just held the committee meeting today. Both are also susceptible to being left out if there are a number of automatic berths given out to teams that otherwise wouldn't be in the field.
Colorado State's concerns come entirely from nonconference play. While the Rams were able to enter conference play undefeated, those wins didn't exactly come against a murderers' row. Ken Pomeroy's advanced metrics ranked Colorado State's nonconference strength of schedule outside the top Its only victory against a Power Five team came against Colorado, which was among the worst teams in the Pac Splitting its regular-season contests with San Diego State and Boise State will help, but the Rams are firmly on the bubble.
Larry Eustachy has regardless done an excellent job of rebuilding the program since taking over three years ago. Steve Fisher's team was a combined against its biggest intraconference foes and only scored 46 points in each loss to Boise.
While one of the nation's best defensive teams, the Aztecs are perhaps the worst offensive team among likely single-digit seeds.
No player as much as averages 12 points per game, which is a deviation from even the typical offensively-deficient Fisher teams. There is no Jamaal Franklin or Xavier Thames on this roster. This team can really struggle when it's not creating turnovers; it'll be interesting to see what happens if San Diego gets a third crack at Boise.
Elsewhere, the remainder of the conference is in all-or-nothing mode.
Wyoming looked like a tournament team earlier this season but has fallen apart over the last month and a half. Utah State's four-game losing streak in November and December will also prove insurmountable without a tournament title.
Of the two, Wyoming has a better chance of a deep run on paper thanks to its win over Boise and sweep of Colorado State.