2 Tiers Expected in Top-10 Conference

The Mountain West Conference sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament last season, with San Diego State as a 6-seed and Utah State earning an at-large bid as an 11-seed.

Despite the Mountain West being a top-10 conference, the league hasn’t seen much success once entering the NCAA Tournament. The teams have a combined record of 22-51 once extending their seasons in March.

This year there are two tiers that separate the teams in the Mountain West: the contenders and the pretenders.

The Contenders

Overall Record 2020-21 23-5
League Record 2020-21 14-3
ATS 14-13

The Aztecs won 14 straight games (along with the Mountain West Tournament) heading into the NCAA Tournament last year. But the streak ended there, as the Syracuse zone ultimately doomed San Diego State’s postseason plans in the first round.

The program lost its top three scorers in Matt Mitchell, Jordan Schakel and Terrell Gomez from last year’s 23-5 squad.

That’s not to say this roster isn’t loaded with returning talent, though, as the starting lineup looks to be comprised of five seniors.

Cal transfer Matt Bradley will be the main offensive focus and will have an immediate impact for the Aztecs.

San Diego State leaned on its defense last year, as it ranked 21st nationally in efficiency, according to KenPom.

The unit allowed just 0.89 Points Per Play in Mountain West play and will likely recreate those numbers with 6-foot-10 Nathan Mensah returning for his senior season. The forward averaged 1.4 blocks per game and is one of the top rim protectors in the nation.

Overall Record 2020-21 20-8
League Record 2020-21 14-4
ATS 13-12-1

Colorado State has emerged as the trendy pick to win the conference as it returns everyone from a roster that went 14-4 last season.

The Rams are led by the one-two punch of David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens.

Roddy averaged 15.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game last season and plays much bigger than his 6-foot-5 frame.

Stevens was a shifty guard who put up 15.3 points, 5.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds per contest.

Kendle Moore complements these two as the team’s top defender and outside shooter. He averaged 10.4 points per game in 2020-21.

The Rams’ offense was dominant, averaging 74 points per game while leading the Mountain West in offensive efficiency.

With all the pieces returning, they are one of the favorites to win the conference.

Overall Record 2020-21 16-10
League Record 2020-21 10-7
ATS 19-6

Steve Alford returns for his second year with the Wolf Pack after being a cash cow for bettors last year. Nevada finished 19-6 against the spread, covering the number 76% of the time.

The Wolf Pack return their entire starting lineup from last season, including two of the top scorers in the conference in Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge.

Sherfield is the league’s Preseason Player of the Year after averaging 18.6 points and 6.1 assists per game last year in Alford’s pick-and-roll offense. His play…

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Read More: 2 Tiers Expected in Top-10 Conference 2021-10-28 03:17:00

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