When New Mexico knocked off Wyoming in the Pit on Saturday, it wrapped up not only a fourth Mountain West regular-season title in five seasons, but the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.
Until Wednesday, they were the only team in the league to know its tournament seed.
The Lobos now know they will play their March 13 MWC quarterfinal against the winner of the Nevada-Wyoming play-in game.
When UNM (26-4, 13-2 Mountain West) beat Nevada 75-62 in Reno on Wednesday, it guaranteed the Wolf Pack (12-17, 3-12 MWC) will be locked into the No. 9 seed, even if it wins at Colorado State on Saturday.
Wyoming (18-11, 4-12), a Wednesday night loser to Colorado State (23-7, 10-5) to end the Cowboys’ regular season, holds a tiebreaker against the Wolf Pack and is locked into the No. 8 seed.
The Cowboys cannot pass Fresno State (10-18, 4-11) even if the Bulldogs lose at UNLV on Saturday and finish with a matching 4-12 league record. The league’s third tiebreaker is in Fresno State’s favor by virtue of beating UNLV earlier this season.
So the league knows the Nos. 1 (UNM), 7 (Fresno State), 8 (Wyoming) and 9 (Nevada) seeds. Seeds 2 through 6 will be determined based on the outcomes of Saturday’s four league games.
Even though the final seedings for UNLV, Colorado State, San Diego State, Boise State and Air Force have not been determined, the Lobos know they can’t play the tournament’s unofficial host UNLV until the tournament championship because the Runnin’ Rebels are locked into the No. 2 or 3 seed, placing them on the other side of the bracket.
Here are the tournament seed possibilities heading into Saturday’s regular-season finales for the league:
No. 1: UNM
No. 2: Colorado State/UNLV
No. 3: Colorado State/San Diego State/UNLV
No. 4: Colorado State/San Diego State
No. 5: Air Force/San Diego State/Boise State
No. 6: Air Force/Boise State
No. 7: Fresno State
No. 8: Wyoming
No. 9: Nevada
UNM’s MWC tournament schedule
♦ Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. MDT, vs. Wyoming/Nevada winner;
♦ (if it wins quarterfinal) March 15, 7 p.m. MDT;
♦ (if it wins semifinal) March 16, 4 p.m. MDT.
Quarterfinal and semifinal games will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. The championship will be broadcast on CBS.
Lobos as a No. 1 seed
UNM has been a No. 1 seed only once in the Mountain West tournament when it entered the 2010 event with a 28-3 record.
That year, the Roman Martinez/Darington Hobson/Dairese Gary-led Lobos beat play-in game winner No. 9 Air Force, 75-69, in the quarterfinals before losing to No. 4 San Diego State 72-69 in the semifinals.
— This article appeared on page D3 of the Albuquerque Journal