College Basketball Betting: Mountain West Tournament Preview
The Mountain West Tournament gets underway on Wednesday at Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center. All 11 teams will participate with the top five seeds earning first round byes. Top seed San Diego State is assured of an NCAA Tournament at-large berth should the Aztecs lose. Second seed Utah State is technically on the bubble though the Aggies’ stock took a big hit after a disappointing loss to New Mexico last weekend.
Favorite – The Mountain West was much improved this season with six teams currently inside KenPom’s top 100. That makes San Diego State’s remarkable 28-1, 17-1 season all the more impressive. The Aztecs were one ice cold shooting night away from going undefeated; a 66-63 loss to red hot UNLV. Having the ability to win multiple ways is a nice attribute to have this time of season. SDSU won five league games scoring in the 60’s and six scoring in the 80’s. The only knock on the Aztecs is they’ve historically been on the unlucky side when it comes to this tournament. Since 2012, they’ve reached the championship six times and cut down the nets only once. But make no mistake, this is a far better outfit than what we’ve seen since Brian Dutcher took over for Steve Fisher. Not only did they slice through MWC play, they also own impressive non-conference wins over BYU, Creighton, and Iowa — three teams projected to be sixth or better seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Darkhorse – Plenty to choose from here with five teams finishing 12-6 or 11-7 in league play. Utah State was originally pegged to be the class of the league and showed as much in non-conference play with wins over Florida and LSU. But in a league not noted for stellar defenses outside of San Diego State, the Aggies never found their footing on the offensive end. They finished fifth in efficiency and managed only 64 points in the season finale against a New Mexico squad that hadn’t defended all season. UNLV offers some upside as the Rebels’ decision to play small ball paid off with five straight wins to close the year including the aforementioned upset over San Diego State. But perhaps the most dangerous team is Nevada. The Wolf Pack closed the year 6-1 and held a 13-point lead over San Diego State before eventually falling 83-76 last weekend. Four Nevada players have attempted 100 or more 3-pointers this season and all four shot 37% or better. And the Wolf Pack won’t have to face San Diego State until the championship should they both advance.
What to Bet – Wyoming has gone through quite a late season transformation. The Cowboys went from being one of the slowest teams in the conference to one of the fastest with an average of over 72 possessions per game over their last eight contests. This resulted in a 6-2 O/U mark. With head coach Allen Edwards on his way out, and a nothing-to-lose attitude, we’d look for their run of OVERS to continue in the first round vs. Colorado State.