As the MWC approaches the halfway point of the conference season; a brief analysis follows. New Mexico has been the most consistent and best team so far with the debacle in San Diego being their only blemish. However; road trips to Vegas, CSU, Air Force and even Reno should produce 2 or more losses which should still get the Lobos the top spot. CSU; with finally a decent coach and a veteran team looks like a squad that won't go away. The surprise team is those Falcons who were 1 rebound away from winning in Vegas and also send out a senior laden team. This is not the AFA teams of the past that played games in the 40's and 50's. Obviously; the 2 most disappointing teams are the Aztecs and the Rebels. UNLV has been very erratic because of injuries and no team chemistry but still could run the table with the abundance of talent, despite the lack of game coaching from Dave Rice. SDSU can look like world beaters as evidenced by the blowout of UNM but the lack of a true point guard has proven costly, but never count out the Fischer. After an impressive non-conference, Boise has come back to earth and their first go around this season has told them what everyone else has known. The road in the MWC is brutal with the distances and the difficult venues. Nevada could still catch some top teams off guard in Reno, but they too will find it tough to win on the road. Wyoming has had 2 seasons. Pre-Martinez injury/suspension and Post Martinez injury/suspension. With him, they were a threat on any night, but now the Cowboys are nothing more than Leonard Washington and the 4 stiffies. The moral of the story is that nothing good ever happens in a Laramie bar. Fresno is just wishing they could still be in the WAC where .500 was a possibility, but are now just trying to be competitive.
You and I know that New Mexico has been a weird team. They have been lucky. No other team in the top 25 has the dubious distinction of such a slim win margin and two 1st halfs like at St Louis and San Diego State. They have all the components. They have a true point guard, shooting guards, length, athleticism, and two legit big men down low- one of them a 7-footer who can shoot the 3 ball.
Colorado St seems second best and they can flat out play. Shooters everywhere and team ball.
UNLV is just annoying. They play so darned tentative with all that talent.
The Aztecs simply rely on good shooting from the outside. If it weren't for Franklin, they'd be in deep trouble. With him, they're in every game.
Boise State is a very good team, but plays a couple of different games. One of them doesn't work...the one where they take shots early in the shot clock without blocking out. The other one is superb defense and methodical offense with good shots. They could be the 5th team IN.
Air Force may win the rest at home and that could get them selected as an at-large.
Like you said, Wyoming is done after Martinez left. Would have been nice to see that team with him about now- they'd be in the Top 10 and on top of the MWC. They will miss the tourney.
Nevada is talented, but don't have the coaching.
Fresno State is outclassed, but have looked good beating Wyoming and nearly beat SDSU.
It's a good year in the MWC. I'm confident the MWC will earn 5 teams, but not sure any will win more than two games. Man, I hope I'm wrong...
I think the MWC gets 5 in...not that they're all that, but in comparison to the other conferences, I think 5 makes sense. The Lobos finally actually just beat another team down. (Air Force) I really don't care how many MWC teams make it. I just want to see the Lobos peak at the right time and start playing to their potential. Tonight was a good start.
Uno. I enjoy your thoughtful insights on MWC basketball, but I just don't get your love affair with Wyoming. Top 10 team if Martinez had decided to walk past the bar that night? Come on man. Maybe you should have skipped happy hour before you posted. They were basically the same team as last year's squad that couldn't even finish in the top half of the league. As for NCAA tourney projections; I also agree 5 teams will get in with only New Mexico having any shot at getting past the first weekend. CSU; with the veteran team and an experienced coach has an outside shot at winning a game in March, but Vegas, SDSU and Boise will all lose their only game if they even get in.
Wyoming had a soft schedule and I believe they would be flyin' high with Martinez. There really aren't alot of teams who would want the top 10 this year. I'm not thinking Wyoming was necessarily one of the elite teams, but they were on a roll and it just stopped cold when he kicked the kid in the head. Oh I think SDSU, UNLV, Colorado St, and UNM all have a good shot at winning the first weekend, but not convinced at all that they will- these teams are up and down something silly.
I think they get a solid 4 in. I don't see Boise. They beat Creighton early, but got bi***slapped by Utah. Other than that the non-conference wasn't impressive
While I get your poing HDawg, the MWC is strong enough to get in 5. They will get in 5 and an outside shot at 6. To get just 4 would mean that Boise St, Wyoming, AND Air Force don't make it. Now, SDSU and UNLV are looking at needing to finish decent, but I think they'll do that.
Boise St beat Creighton, Wyoming, and UNLV, hung w/ Michigan S, SDSU, and New Mexico...all they need is a win over either New Mexico, Colo St, SDSU or another over UNLV and I think they're clearly on the bubble, at worst. Most bracketologists have them IN, and given the other contenders, I'd have to agree.
Wyoming and Air Force also are still in consideration. Wyoming beat both SDSU and Colorado. All they need is a win vs SDSU, UNLV, New Mexico or Colo St., and they will be close to the bubble. 2 wins gets them IN. Air Force isn't out of it either. Their wins voer SDSU, Boise St, and Wyoming set them up for potential of winning 2 against the MWC leader board and getting serious consideration.
Incredible game from Kendall Williams. Many of us knew he had it in him, but 45 points on the road was outstanding. New Mexico 2 games in front in the MWC race. Finally an impressive commanding win for the Lobos. I knew going into the last 10 minutes that New Mexico's experience gave them an advantage over a very good Colorado State.