Friday, December 26, 2014

State of the Mountain West

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

It's been a year of transition in the MWC - New Mexico is falling back, and new teams are emerging.  More than most conferences, this one deserves its own catch-up thread to get you up to speed.

San Diego St (9-3) is still the class here.  They've scheduled up and picked off some wins of value (Utah, N-BYU, N-Pitt).  The losses are maybe one too many (@Cincy is what I'm looking at), but losing to Arizona and Washington is fine.  They'll likely be rewarded for scheduling tough.

2nd best in this conference seems like it'll be Colorado St (11-0) vs. Boise St ().  CSU has ran the table so far on a top-100 non-con SoS.  @Colorado, UTEP, Georgia St is on the resume so far, so nothing high-end...but wins are wins.  Boise has a more middling schedule, a middling loss (N-Loyola), and a middling signature win (@St Mary's).  Still, it's tough to quite get a read on CSU, so I think this is a 2-team race for 2nd.

Behind them is Wyoming (9-2); their SoS is an issue though.  Although they did beat Colorado at home and both losses are to probable tourney teams on the road, the rest of the resume is light, so there's work to do.  It feels like two of Wyoming, BSU, and CSU will eventually make the tournament, doesn't it?

UNLV (7-3) is kind of on the fringe.  Sterling SoS numbers, a signature win over Arizona, one stinging loss @Arizona St and a win over N-Temple in the back pocket.  The computer numbers aren't helping right now but I expect them to be within vicinity of the bubble, at least.

Back in the pack, New Mexico (8-4) not only has a bad schedule, they're losing questionable games (the "best" loss is N-Texas A&M).  The schedule is surprisingly barren.  Air Force (5-4) and Utah St (6-5) similarly have schedules that might bring down the MWC, and Nevada (2-8), Fresno St (3-8), and San Jose St (0-10) are doing that with actual wins and losses instead.

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