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Grammer: MWC may be a 1-bid league again


Here we are again.

Nonconference play is past and the 18-game Mountain West schedule is upon us.

And while the 11-team league can take satisfaction in knowing it performed better this season in pre-conference matchups than it had in the past three seasons (its KenPom.com rating is higher today than in any season since 2014), that doesn’t mean much when no one team has done enough to be assured of an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. This is a one-bid league again barring one or two teams separating themselves from the rest of the pack over the next 10 weeks.

Sure, there are two teams ranked in the top 30 of the NCAA’s Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and five teams are ranked in the top 70 of KenPom.com, which hasn’t happened since five league teams made the Big Dance in 2013. But no team has a résumé with both big wins and devoid of bad losses, meaning the league is likely again all about cutting down nets in Las Vegas, Nev., on March 10.

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As conference play begins Wednesday night, here is a team-by-team look at what the Mountain West did in nonconference play, sorted alphabetically:

AIR FORCE FALCONS

Record: 6-6

Preseason rank: 11

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 279 / 325

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 0-0 / 0-0

BOISE STATE BRONCOS

Record: 10-2

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Preseason rank: 3

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 66 / 29

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 2-2 / 3-2

COLORADO STATE RAMS

Record: 7-6

Preseason rank: 5

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 188 / 129

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 0-5 / 0-6

FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS

Record: 10-3

Preseason rank: 4

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 69 / 147

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 0-2 / 0-2

NEVADA WOLF PACK

Record: 11-3

Preseason rank: 1

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 36 / 23

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 2-2 / 4-2

NEW MEXICO LOBOS

Record: 5-8

Preseason rank: 9

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 184 / 219

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 0-5 / 0-5

SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS

Record: 8-3

Preseason rank: 2

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 56 / 55

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 2-1 / 2-1

SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS

Record: 3-8

Preseason rank: 10

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 295 / 296

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 0-2 / 0-3

UNLV RUNNIN’ REBELS

Record: 11-2

Preseason rank: 6

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 68 / 101

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 2-2 / 2-2

UTAH STATE AGGIES

Record: 7-6

Preseason rank: 8

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 148 / 215

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 0-3 / 0-4

WYOMING COWBOYS

Record: 9-4

Preseason rank: 7

KenPom rank/RPI rank: 135/112

vs. KenPom top 100/vs. RPI top 100: 1-2 / 1-2

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