What's on the line in the final week of the Mountain West men's hoops season? - Albuquerque Journal

What’s on the line in the final week of the Mountain West men’s hoops season?

The Thomas & Mack Center at the 2020 Mountain West Tournament on March 4, 2020. (Geoff Grammer/Albuquerque Journal)
There is one week left in the Mountain West regular season and still plenty yet to be determined ahead of the March 8-11 Mountain West Tournament in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

As of Monday morning, just one of the 11 seeds in the tournament was set in stone (San Diego State will be the No. 1 seed). Of course the big seeding nugget to know is that seeds 1-5 get a bye into the quarterfinal round that starts Thursday, March 7, in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev., while seeds 6-11 have to play in the March 5 “first round” of the tournament.

The UNM Lobos and San Jose State Spartans are the two teams still in the mix for the No. 5 seed, with the Spartans entering the week a game ahead of the Lobos, despite UNM sweeping them head-to-head this season.

No team has ever won the MW Tournament, or even made it to the title game for that matter, starting the tournament before the quarterfinal round, so history says getting that bye is important, though maybe the matchups tell a different story.

Before the team-by-team final week breakdown of the games remaining and possible tournament seeds programs are still playing for, here is the link to the league’s Conference Tournament Homepage, which included all tournament game times and bracket information.

A schedule of the final week of regular season games is at the bottom of this article.

Now, in alphabetical order (no fun, I know), here is a team-by-team look at the final week schedule for each program, what tournament seeds/scenarios are still possible and even what the KenPom.com single-game probabilities project for the remaining games:


• MW record (2/27): 5-12
• Possible seeds: 7, 8, 9, 10
• Preseason media poll: 11th
• Final game: Saturday vs. San Jose State
• KenPom projection: Win vs. San Jose State
• Note: The biggest mess that could happen, though highly unlikely, would be for a 4-way tie at 6-12 in the standings to end the regular season. Air Force gets there with a home win over San Jose State. With four teams, there are too many scenarios to break down because there are different tiebreaker rules for head-to-head ties, 3 way ties and 4 way ties. Just know this: Air Force could end up seeded anywhere from 7 to 10.


• MW record (2/27): 12-4
• Possible seeds: 2, 3, 4
• Preseason media poll: 3rd
• Final games: Tuesday vs. San Diego State; Saturday at Utah State
• KenPom projection: Win vs. San Diego State; Loss at Utah State
• Note: Boise State’s loss to San Jose State on Saturday, coupled with the SDSU buzzer beater in the Pit, eliminated the Broncos from No. 1 seed contention and also leaves open the door for them to fall as far as 4. In that scenario, they’d face either San Jose State or UNM as the 5 seed. BSU split the season series with both of those teams.


• MW record (2/27): 5-11
• Possible seeds: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
• Preseason media poll: 4th
• Final games: Tuesday at San Jose State; Friday vs. New Mexico
• KenPom projection: Loss at San Jose State; Loss vs. New Mexico
• Note: The Rams could get as high as a 7 seed if they find themselves in a three-way tie with UNM and Fresno State at 7-11 by virtue of a 3-1 record vs. those two teams. Or it could fall all the way to the 11 seed if they go 0-2 and tie with Wyoming, because while they split with the Cowboys, the next tiebreaker would be record vs. the league’s top seed. And for the Cowboys to get to 5 wins, they would have upset San Diego State this coming Saturday to get there.


• MW record (2/27): 6-11
• Possible seeds: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
• Preseason media poll: 7th
• Final games: Tuesday at New Mexico (also a non-MW game Saturday vs. Chicago State)
• KenPom projection: Loss at New Mexico
• Note: Win in the Pit and it could finish tied at 7-11 with UNM, which would give Fresno State the tiebreaker since it swept the Lobos in that scenario. That could get the Bulldogs as high as a No. 6 seed. Or they could drop all the way to 10 if they end up in a 3-way tie with Air Force and Colorado State at 6-12.


• MW record (2/27): 12-4
• Possible seeds: 2, 3, 4
• Preseason media poll: 9th
• Final games: Monday at Wyoming; Saturday vs. UNLV
• KenPom projection: Win at Wyoming; Win vs. UNLV
• Note: If the easiest of the final week schedules remaining, at least statistically speaking, proves to be two wins for the Wolf Pack, they could sneak into a share of the league regular season title and get the No. 2 seed. The worst the could do is fall to 4, where they could give us another Steve Alford/UNM Lobos matchup in the 4/5 game. Last year they met in the 8/9 game.


• MW record (2/27): 7-9
• Possible seeds: 5, 6, 7, 8
• Preseason media poll: 5th
• Final games: Tuesday vs. Fresno State; Friday at Colorado State
• KenPom projection: Win vs. Fresno State; Win at Colorado State
• Note: Nobody around the program expected anything less than the 5 seed, right up until Saturday when the Spartans upset of Boise State and UNM’s buzzer-beating loss to SDSU slid the Lobos down to the oustide-looking-in realm of that top 5. If the Lobos do end up tied record-wise with San Jose State, the Lobos swept the Spartans so would then get the tiebreaker and the No. 5 seed. There is a nightmare scenario for the Lobos where two losses this week drops them all the way down to the No. 8 seed.


• MW record (2/27): 14-2
• Possible seed: 1
• Preseason media poll: 1st
• Final games: Tuesday at Boise State; Saturday vs. Wyoming
• KenPom projection: Loss at Boise State; Win vs. Wyoming
• Note: The Aztecs have already clinched at least a share of the Mountain West regular season championship and would win it outright with a win in either of their games this week or losses by either Nevada or Boise State. Because they would hold the tiebreakers against both Nevada and Boise State, they’ve already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West Tournament.


• MW record (2/27): 8-8
• Possible seeds: 5, 6
• Preseason media poll: 10th
• Final games: Tuesday vs. Colorado State; Saturday at Air Force
• KenPom projection: Win vs. Colorado State; Loss at Air Force
• Note: If the Spartans lock up their final two games and clinch the No. 5 seed, you might as well lock up the Mountain West Coach of the Year award for Tim Miles (he may win it anyway). The Spartans certainly have two winnable games, but if they fall in one and the Lobos win out, leaving both with 9 wins, the Lobos hold the tiebreaker since they swept the Spartans this season.


• MW record (2/27): 6-10
• Possible seeds: 6, 7, 8, 9
• Preseason media poll: 6th
• Final games: Wednesday vs. Utah State; Saturday at Nevada
• KenPom projection: Loss vs. Utah State; Loss at Nevada
• Note: Even with a pair of wins to get to 8-10, the Rebels can’t get to the 5 seed because they would either be tied with an 8-win San Jose State that swept UNLV this season and would own the head-to-head tie breaker or they’d by in a 3-way tie with SJSU and UNM, but would also lose that tie breaker having gone 1-2 vs. the group while UNM went 2-1. UNLV can not get to a two-way tiebreaker with UNM for the 5 seed, but can for the sixth seed, in which case their 1-0 record over the Lobos would be the tiebreaker.


• MW record (2/27): 11-5
• Possible seeds: 2, 3, 4
• Preseason media poll: 8th
• Final games: Wednesday at UNLV; Saturday vs. Boise State
• KenPom projection: Win at UNLV; Win vs. Boise State
• Note: Win out and see Nevada and Boise State both lose out and the Aggies could get all the way to the 2 seed. The most likely scenario with tiebreakers lost to both Nevada and Boise State is that 4 seed, though.


• MW record (2/27): 3-13
• Possible seeds: 10, 11
• Preseason media poll: 2nd
• Final games: Monday vs. Nevada; Saturday at San Diego State
• KenPom projection: Loss vs. Nevada; Loss at San Diego State
• Note: The Cowboys need to knock off both Nevada and San Diego State AND need Colorado State to go 0-2 this week to get into a tie breaker they would they hold over the Rams by virtue of the SDSU win. Good luck.

MW Final Week Schedule

• Nevada at Wyoming, 7 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

• No. 22 San Diego State at Boise State, 7 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network
• Colorado State at San Jose State, 8 p.m. PT/9 p.m. p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network
• Fresno State at New Mexico, 8:30 p.m. MT (FS1)

• Utah State at UNLV, 8 p.m. PT/9 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

• New Mexico at Colorado State, 9 p.m. MT (FS1)

• San Jose State at Air Force, 2 p.m. MT (MWN)
• UNLV at Nevada, 2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT (MWN)
• *NON CONFERENCE GAME* Chicago State at Fresno State, 4 p.m. PT/5 p.m. MT (MWN)
• Boise State at Utah State, 7 p.m. MT (MWN)
• Wyoming at No. 22 San Diego State, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

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