March Madness is here! As some of the power 5 conference teams finish up their regular season, postseason play begins for some of the mid-majors. Today, a few of our writers will be giving their thoughts on the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
#8 Fresno State vs. #9 Air Force
#7 New Mexico vs. #10 San Jose State
#6 Colorado State vs #11 Wyoming
#1 San Diego State vs. #8 Fresno State/#9 Air Force
#4 UNLV vs. #5 Boise State
#2 Utah State vs. #7 New Mexico/#10 San Jose State
#3 Nevada vs. #6 Colorado State/#11 Wyoming
Who will win the Mountain West Conference Tournament?
Aram: #2 Utah State (23-8, 12-6 in the MWC)
I’m calling the upset here. San Diego State hasn’t been playing nearly has well as they are capable of playing and Utah State had been hot winning six in a row before losing on the road to New Mexico. Sam Merrill is a name to remember and I believe that he is going to have a tournament to remember in his final season.
Pat: #1 San Diego State (28-1, 17-1 in the MWC)
I like the Aztecs to continue their dream season with a MWC tournament championship. There’s a reason this team only lost one game, they’re efficient on both ends, play really tough defense and don’t rely too heavily on any one player to score the ball. The Aztecs will be a very tough out in Vegas.
TJ: #1 San Diego State (28-1, 17-1 in the MWC)
By now you should believe San Diego State is the real deal and if you don’t they’ll prove it to you in the conference tournament. The Aztecs are 28-1 with the only loss coming at the hands of UNLV. The Aztecs no longer have the “undefeated pressure” and going forward can just play basketball where they currently hold teams to a minuscule 59.1 points per contest. That sets them in the top 3 for all of college basketball right behind Virginia and Liberty. Malachi Flynn is the leader of this Aztec team and looks like he is now playing his basketball right now.
Which team is a Dark Horse Candidate to take home the title?
Aram: #5 Boise State (19-11, 11-7 in the MWC)
Boise State should be a very feared team coming into the postseason. Derrick Alston and Justinian Jessup are two terrific scorers who will be nightmares for the opposition. I am expecting Boise State to upset UNLV and then head straight forward a tough matchup with San Diego State in the semifinals.
Pat: #5 Boise State (19-11, 11-7 in the MWC)
Leon Rice’s team can get up and down the court and score some buckets, and when they’re on, they can score with just about anyone. This is also a team that plays with a lot of swagger and won’t be scared to go toe to toe with the league’s top teams.
TJ: #2 Utah State (23-8, 12-6 in the MWC)
Is it right to consider the #2 seed a dark horse? I am anyways as things haven’t gone as planned for Utah State this year mostly due to injuries taking their toll. The Aggies are led by guard Sam Merrill who has been the unquestioned leader for the Aggies and looks to saddle up for one last tourney push. Big man Neemias Queta when healthy is one of the best shot blockers in college basketball and is starting to look healthy again after missing time this year as he’s only played in 19 games.
Who is one player that NBA teams should keep an eye on?
Aram: Neemias Queta, Sophomore C – Utah State
TJ briefly mentioned him, but Neemias Queta is an extremely raw talent. The potential is clear in his game and in the last two games of the season, we began to see him put it together. He averaged 20.5 points and 12.0 rebounds over those last two games. If he keeps that production up, he will certainly have NBA teams considering him for a late 1st round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Pat: Malachi Flynn, Senior G – San Diego State
Malachi Flynn has deservedly gained a ton of national attention for leading SDSU to the nation’s best regular season record. He does a great job of leading this offense and he scores when the team needs him to and facilitates when they need him to. Flynn wasn’t really even on the NBA draft radar this off-season, but if he keeps up his great play in March, we could hear his name called in the first round in June.
TJ: Derrick Alston, Junior G – Boise State
Many in NBA circles are attracted to Boise State guard Derrick Alston. Listed at 6-9, he has plenty of length to work with and has good athleticism to slash his way to the basket. Alston has made waves as a playmaker and needs to look to get stronger going forward, but his size and skill-set make him intriguing.