Tag:Conference Tournament
Posted on: March 9, 2011 8:50 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 8:51 pm

Mountain West Conference Tournament Preview

I realize the 1st Round or Pigtail game has already been played, but that doesn't really effect anything.

The Mountain West tournament is wide open this year; I don't believe there is any clear favorite. Any of the top 5 teams are capable of winning the whole thing which should make for some exciting action.

Players to Watch : Everyone knows about Jimmer Fredette who leads the nation in scoring. But there are many other exciting players to watch in the Mountain West:

1. Jimmer Fredette-Leads the nation in scoring; the Cougars are going to need to lean on him if they are going to win the MWC tournament in the absence of Brandon Davies.

2. Kewhi Leonard-Perhaps the best all-around player in the Mountain West; Leonard averages 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. Leonard has huge hands which help him on the glass. Perhaps the one weakness is Leonard's game is when he tries to shoot the 3; Leonard only shoots 26% from 3.

3. Andy Ogide-Haven't been able to see him on TV much this year, but Ogide has impressive numbers and is the lynchpin of the Colorado State offensive attack. A very effective post player, Ogide shoots 59% from the field.

4. Tre'von Willis-The Rebels have improved this season as Willis has gotten healthier. Willis missed 5 games and has been injuried in other games he has played. When he is on though, the Rebels are hard to stop.

5. Dairese Gary-He may not be flashy, but the Senior Lobos guard is all heart and determination. Gary is the Lobos leading score and after getting his first taste of the NCAA Tournament last year, Gary is going to try to put the Lobos on his back and will them into the NCAA Tournament; to do that the Lobos may need to win the conference tournament.

Favorite: San Diego State- BYU may be the #1 seed, beating San Diego State twice in the regular season, but the Cougars have lots of questions surrounding them after the suspension of Brandon Davies. The Aztecs are the defending tournament champions and their depth and athleticism should carry them to the title. If the Aztecs don't get it done though it wouldn't surprise me as the Mountain West has 5 teams capable of winning three games in a row.

Darkhorse: Colorado State- Nobody's talking about the Rams winning this tournament, but the Rams are a bubble team and will be motivated to play well and try to play their way into the NCAA tournament. Ogide is the type of player that the Rams can ride and nobody other than SDSU has the size or depth to stop him.

Team whose Bubble Bursts: New Mexico-The Lobos need to at least make the tournament final to have any chance at the NCAA tournament and may need to win the whole thing. If the Lobos can win the 4/5 matchup with Colorado State they likely get a BYU team they swept in the regular season. I think that's motivation enough for BYU and it's difficult enough to beat a team three times in a season. Add into all of that, the Lobos are 1-3 in the Mountain West tournament under Steve Alford and the odds stack against the talented, but young, Lobos team

Pick: UNLV-Hard to pick against the home team. The Rebels have won 5 in a row and Tre'von Willis is getting his game together. The Rebels haven't been able to beat the Aztecs, their likely semifinal opponent, but they have been close in both games despite shooting extremely poorly. Rebels finally put together a good shooting game against the Aztecs and then beat a tired Jimmer Fredette and BYU in the final.

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