The Mountain West Conference Tournament will take place beginning March 9th in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas and will run through Saturday March 12th. San Diego State is the best team in the Mountain West Conference followed closely by BYU and then the other three contenders in the league have been inconsistent at best.
The UNLV Runnin Rebels have had difficulty shooting the ball from outside this year which is unusual for them and the Colorado State Rams have been a nice surprise this season. The Mountain West team that has disappointed this year has been the New Mexico Lobos. The following three teams will give the Aztecs trouble as they try to run the table and gain consideration for a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
No.3 Colorado State Rams
Colorado State has been a surprise this season in Mountain West Conference play but they have yet to beat the two best teams in the conference BYU and San Diego State. Colorado State is a team that can get rolling with a big scoring run and they are ranked 14th in the country in shooting percentage from the field.
Andy Ogide is the Rams best shooter averaging over 16 points per game and they do have some big men in the lineup. One team that they match up well against is the San Diego State Aztecs and just missed an opportunity for a signature win against them losing 56-54 in Fort Collins. Colorado State is the upset pick for the Mountain West Tournament.
No,2 UNLV Runnin Rebels
How can a team that can’t hit a three pointer be considered one of the teams that can beat San Diego State? Two words, Lon Kruger. Kruger lives for tournament play and although UNLV has not fared well in the Mountain West Tournament recently Kruger may have them about to peak at the right time.
The UNLV Rebels are hitting just over 30 percent from three point land and their best scorers are not averaging over 13 points per game. Tre’Von Willis began the season on suspension for an off the field incident and it has taken him most of the season to find his shot.
Anthony Marshall has shown signs that UNLV will be in good hands when Willis leaves after his senior year. UNLV as the home team has a good opportunity to make a statement and move up the seeding ladder with a win in the tournament.
No.1 BYU Cougars
Yes we know Jimmer Fredette is on this team but he will be facing these teams for the third time. UNLV held Jimmer to 13 points from the field but he went 16 for 16 from the free throw line. Fredette is hovering around 90 percent from the free throw line this year and he makes it to the line for more than half of his 27 points per game.
Noah Hartsock is one of the unsung heroes on this team that can shoot daggers from the outside as well as Jackson Emery. When teams can tie up Fredette these two players will have to step up and take over the games. If BYU plays UNLV this may be the game of the tournament and don’t expect any nice words to be exchanged. BYU is the one team that can win big over San Diego State if they do meet up.
What Can San Diego State Aztecs Do to Run Table?
The San Diego State Aztecs have played a great regular season but are they a tournament team? The Aztecs have the best two way player in the tournament, Kawhi Leonard. Leonard can take over a game but there others that will rise to the occasion.
Billy White is a Las Vegas resident that is always up for games in the familiar Thomas and Mack. White is one of the better outside shooters on the team but the best pure shooter on the team may be D.J. Gay. Gay is hitting 38 percent from the three point arc and averaging just over 12 per game.
San Diego State will fall in the Mountain West tournament to one of these three teams and the ultimate winner will be the UNLV Runnin Rebels on their home floor.
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