There are many words one can use to describe the 2017 Mountain West season: chaotic, uncertain, befuddling, etc. Because the league has been unpredictable all season, it’s only fitting that it came down to the final day for the regular season champ to be crowned.
Colorado State at Nevada. Two teams tied for first. One game for all the marbles.
On the back of Cameron Oliver’s monster 29-point, 17-rebound performance, it was the Wolf Pack who finished the season perched at the top of the mountain as they claimed the top seed in the Mountain West Tournament. Nevada bested the Rams 85-72 in a game that featured the league’s two best teams. It was close at the half, but the Wolf Pack pulled away as Oliver threatened to pull down the rim. I mean, look at this:
Steak and dunk by Cameron Oliver puts Nevada up 62-51 with 10 minutes left. pic.twitter.com/GQlmtedZR4— Chris Murray (@MurrayRGJ) March 5, 2017
Perhaps the best thing to come out of Nevada’s title-clinching win was the postgame antics of Eric Mussleman. In just his second year as head coach, Musselman led the Wolf Pack to their first Mountain West title since the school joined the conference in 2012. And what does that call for, you might ask? For Musselman, it calls for taking your shirt off.
WARNING: The following images may be considered graphic. Proceed with caution.
Shirtless Eric Musselman! pic.twitter.com/2sVOqdVpMb— Tyler Bischoff (@Bischoff_Tyler) March 5, 2017
Naked Musselman is becoming an annual March tradition at Lawlor. pic.twitter.com/BoRl4Lx6NI— Chris Murray (@MurrayRGJ) March 5, 2017
Party on, coach Musselman.
Despite falling short of the regular season title, Colorado State still earned the 2 seed in the conference tournament. Boise State finished a game back of the Rams at 12-6, and received the 3 seed. Fresno State enters as the 4 seed, where it’ll face fifth-seeded New Mexico in the quarterfinals.
Saturday night’s loss to the Lobos knocked San Diego State down to the 6 seed, and the Aztecs will match up with UNLV in the opening round. Wyoming and Air Force received the 7 and 10 seeds, respectively. Utah State and San Jose State round out the opening-round matchups as the 8 and 9 seeds, and the winner of that game will play Nevada in the quarterfinals.
The opening round tips off in Las Vegas on March 8, and the first round of games can be streamed on the Mountain West Network. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be aired on CBS Sports Network the following two days, and the championship game on March 11 will air on CBS at 6 p.m. ET.