Current Mountain West Odds: Updated 02/25/21
|San Diego State Aztecs||+170||+150|
|Utah State Aggies||+275||+175|
|Boise State Broncos||+250||+400|
|Colorado State Rams||+1500||+500|
|Nevada Wolf Pack||+2000||+2500|
|New Mexico Lobos||+1600||+10000|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||+5000||+10000|
|San Jose State Spartans||+10000||+30000|
|Air Force Falcons||+30000||+30000|
The Mountain West Conference Tournament will be a very important one for teams within the league, but also for teams outside of it. Colorado State is pretty solidly on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but so is Utah State. Boise State is another team sitting somewhat precariously as the Month of Madness comes into focus.
The only team with a guaranteed spot in the Field of 68 is San Diego State and the Aztecs are the tournament favorite, but only slightly over Utah State. If Utah State, Boise State, or even Colorado State win the conference tournament, that could end up stealing a bid from another team on the cut line. Maybe even getting to the Championship Game with a strong top half of the conference would be enough to gain favor from the Selection Committee.
This is going to be a really exciting tournament in Las Vegas. Utah State has bested San Diego State in back-to-back years in the Finals. We could get a third installment of that rivalry here, especially if the odds hold up as they are listed.
San Diego State has actually made six of the last seven Championship Games in this league. Boise State has never made it, so the Broncos will be supremely motivated to do something that has never been done before and they also have the extra-added incentive of possibly securing a spot in the NCAA Tournament field.
Could Nevada come in and spoil the party? A lengthy COVID pause stunted the team’s progress in February, but head coach Steve Alford is very good at this time of the year and there is enough talent for the Wolf Pack to make some noise.
There are a lot of ways this tournament could fall and it has been prone to upsets in the past. While San Diego State and Utah State are clearly the league’s two best teams, the upset potential here would have a team like Nevada very much in the discussion, especially because the Aztecs don’t have the same urgency as the others if the seed lines stay as they look with a few games left in league play.
It wouldn’t be the least bit shocking to see some chaos in this conference, but it is a level of chaos that could impact a lot of bubble teams. There are great betting opportunities here, but also with the futures market overall.
Mountain West Conference Winner
The Mountain West Conference is going to be one of the more interesting ones in basketball, as there is no clear favorite to earn the tournament title. Utah State comes in is the defending champions, winning in each of the last two years, but they are expected to finish third overall.
The Aggies have a number of key starters returning, including Justin Being (11.9 ppg, 10.5 rpg) and Neernias Queta (13.0 ppg). That should mean that Utah State has plenty of scoring. They added transfer Marco Anthony (Virginia) and have good size and talent, allowing them to have a solid inside and outside the game. While not favored to win the conference, it would not be surprising to see them win a third straight conference title.
San Diego State enters as the favorite after finishing as the runner-up in each of the last two years. This is a deep roster with all five starters from last year returning. Four are seniors this year, so the Aztecs are going to have a lot of depth and a lot of experience. They could be the team no one wants to face in the NCAA tournament.
Colorado State is another team that should make some noise. Their projected starting five all played considerable minutes last year, and this is a young team, which means they should be good for at least two seasons beyond this year. Three of the expected starters are sophomores, including Isaias Stevens who averaged 13.3 ppg last season. David Roddy, another sophomore, is second in scoring among returning starters (11.4).
Boise State has the likely top player in the conference returning in redshirt senior Derrick Alston. Alston averaged 17.3 ppg last season and could find himself selected in the NBA draft should he put together another similar campaign.
UNLV is the fifth team considered to have a shot to win this conference. Redshirt junior David Jenkins averaged 19.7 ppg for South Dakota State two years ago. He will pair with Bryce Hamilton (16.0) in a three-guard set that should be deadly from the outside.
Nevada could be a wildcard in the tournament picture. A pair of transfers, Desmond Cambridge (Brown) and Grant Sherfield (Wichita State), add a lot of scoring punch to a lackluster lineup that has just four returning players. Four solid freshman recruits will be seeing considerable minutes off the bench, and their development will be a key for this team.
Fresno State should struggle to score points this season. Forward Orlando Robinson (12.2 ppg) should have a solid season, but this group is young and inexperienced. New Mexico will likely start to seniors and two juniors, but two of these players have no NCAA experience. The Lobos added for junior college transfers this year.
Wyoming adds a group of junior college transfers to add depth and will be counting on G/F Hunter Maldonado to lead their offense (15.8). Air Force will start three seniors, but only guard A.J. Walker averaged better than seven points a game last season.
A Little About the Conference
The Mountain West Conference consists of 11 teams. San Diego State has been the class of the conference for the last decade, reaching the conference tournament 10 times in the last 12 seasons, earning three titles. Since 2013, six different teams have been crowned as conference champions.
Most Wins All-Time in Mountain West Tournament
|5||San Diego State||2018|