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Mountain West Tournament: Bracket, Schedule and Preview

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at Utah State Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a memorable year for the Mountain West Conference. The conference has good shot of getting four teams in the NCAA tourney and possibility a fifth if an unexpected team cuts down the nets in Las Vegas. If that happens, our staff might be in store for a treat via CBS Sports host Jon Rothstein. Free meals aside you can argue the Mountain West is one of the most intriguing tournaments to pay attention to this weekend. There are so many game breaking stars throughout the conference that could win multiple tournament games on their own whim. From Orlando Robinson at Fresno State (19.2 points per game),Bryce Hamilton at UNLV, (21.8 ppg) to likely conference player of the year (19.5 ppg) there are just countless players to watch. Boise State secured the regular season championship going 15-3 in league play. Yet two seed Colorado State and three seed San Diego State are the co-favorites to cut the down the nets in Las Vegas.

Bracket

Odds to win Mountain West Tournament from DraftKings Sportsbook

San Diego State +310

Colorado State +310

Boise State +320

Wyoming +600

UNLV +700

Utah State +1100

Fresno State +1500

Nevada +6000

New Mexico +8000

San Jose State +40000

Air Force +40000

Schedule

Wednesday, March 9

Game 1: #9 New Mexico vs. #8 Nevada, 2:00 p.m. ET

Game 2: #10 Air Force vs. #7 Utah State, 4:30 p.m. ET

Game 3: #11 San Jose State vs. #6 Fresno State, 7:00 p.m. ET

Thursday, March 10

Game 4: Winner of Game 1 vs. #1 Boise State, 3:00 p.m. ET

Game 5: #5 UNLV vs. #4 Wyoming, 5:30 p.m. ET

Game 6: Winner Game 2 vs. #2 Colorado State, 9:00 p.m. ET

Game 7: Winner Game 3 vs. #3 San Diego State, 11:30 p.m. ET

Friday, March 11

Game 8: Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5, 9:30 p.m. ET

Game 9: Winner of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 7, 12:00 a.m.ET

Saturday, March 12

Game 10: Winner of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 9, 6:00 p.m. ET

Favorite

Colorado State +310: The Rams were the conference preseason tournament favorite and now they are the favorite to win the conference tournament. The Rams couldn’t get the outright championship in the regular season, but they have a good chance of winning the auto bid here. David Roddy is the best player in the conference. The Rams have won nine out of 10 heading into the tournament. They will have a potentially tough second round matchup with Utah State. A tourney championship can potentially move the Rams up to as high as a six seed and ensure them a seven. Colorado State ranks 17th nationally in offensive efficiency.

Contenders

San Diego State +310: Brian Dutcher knows what it takes to be successful in this tournament. The Aztecs have made the final or won the tourney outright in each of the last four seasons. The Aztecs do their work on the defensive end ranking 4th in defensive efficiency and 1st in opponent field goal percentage. Matt Bradley has been a scoring machine averaging 17.8 points per contest. SDSU does not have another guy averaging double digits. San Diego State needs other guys to step up on the offensive end if they are going to make a run in this tourney.

Wyoming +600: The Cowboys have had a surprising season. They lost MW freshmen of the year Marcus Williams to Texas A&M but got better. A lot of this is because of the jump of sixth year player Hunter Maldonado. Maldonado is averaging 18.7 points per game and 5.8 rebounds. Pairing him with big man Graham Ike, who averages 19.9 points and 9.6 rebounds, gives them the best one-two punch in the conference. Wyoming plays an old-school brand of basketball operating a majority of their offense through the post with two true bigs. The Cowboys have struggled lately four out their last seven. They need to win their quarterfinal matchup against UNLV to lock up the at large bid. They are currently one of the last teams in via Joe Lunardi’s bracketology.

Boise State +320: Leon Rice hasn’t faired well in this tournament. They were upset in the 4/5 game against a streaky Nevada team. The loss likely costed them their at-large chance last season. They might have to play that same Nevada team in the second round this time out. Boise State does a good job winning close games at 9-4 in games decided by six points or left. They have a clutch shot maker in Marcus Shaver who seems to shoot 100% from behind the arch with less than a minute to go but is a 37.8% shooter overall. The Broncos length and athleticism gives them the ability to defend extremely well. They rank 17th nationally in defensive efficiency and fourth nationally in defensive rebounding percentage. The Broncos are major threat to cut down the nets in the Mountain West.

Darkhorse

Utah State +1100: The Aggies have won the tournament two of the past three seasons so you can’t count them out. Star Justin Bean has put up player of the year type of numbers averaging 17.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. UMBC transfer Brandon Horvath averages 13.6 ppg. Steven Ashworth is a dangerous threat from three and while Rylan Jones has not had the season he has liked, he still has the experience of a two year starting point guard in the Pac-12. The Aggies are sleeping giant and they matchup fairly well with Colorado State. You can’t sleep on the Aggies at that price.