Mountain West Basketball Tournament 2011 Bracket Update: San Diego State Beats BYU On Third Try

The Mountain West Conference tournament runs from March 9 - March 12 and takes place at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

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Mountain West Basketball Tournament 2011 Bracket Update: San Diego State Defeats BYU, 72-54

The third time was the charm for the San Diego St. Aztecs. Falling twice to the BYU Cougars in the regular season, the Aztecs defeated the Cougars, 72-54, to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship. They previously beat the Utah Utes and the UNLV Runnin' Rebels to make the finals.

Despite 30 points, BYU's Jimmer Fredette had a tough night shooting. He made only nine buckets in 23 shots. Eight of those shots were three-pointers, and he had one disallowed at the end of the first half after replay showed he got the shot off after the buzzer went off (but it was a nice shot with two defenders all over him).

The entire BYU team shot only 33.3 percent from the field, while San Diego St. hit 45.2 percent of their shots. Billy White led the way with 21 points, 12 rebounds and five steals. Kawhi Leonard added 20 points and eight rebounds.

San Diego State now has the conference's automatic bid to the tournament and a strong case for no lower than a No. 2 seed. BYU may need to settle for a No. 3 seed. Selection Sunday begins at 4:00 p.m. MT.


Mountain West Basketball Championship 2011 (Finals Preview)

The 2011 Mountain West Conference Championship comes down to the third game played between the BYU Cougars and the San Diego St. Aztecs on Saturday night. The Cougars won the previous two matches by 13 points each time. Will the Aztecs find the third game to be the charm?

BYU's Jimmer Fredette will stand in the way of SDSU as he scored 43 points and 25 points in the previous games, but the senior guard had the top scoring game of the season so far when he put up 52 points in yesterday's semifinal win over the New Mexico Lobos.

The Aztecs, meanwhile, narrowly escaped with a two-point victory over the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the late game on Friday night. D.J. Gay made the game-winning bucket with less than five seconds left on the clock. Forward Kawhi Leonard added 18 points and eight rebounds in the victory.

The game will be shown on Versus at 5:00 p.m. MT

Here's is how the tournament played out:

Wednesday, March 9

No. 9 TCU def. No. 8 Wyoming

Thursday, March 10

No. 1 BYU def. No. 9 TCU

No. 5 New Mexico def. No. 4 Colorado State

No. 2 San Diego State def. No. 7 Utah

No. 3 UNLV def. No. 6 Air Force

Friday, March 11

BYU def. New Mexico

San Diego State def. UNLV

Saturday, March 12

BYU vs. San Diego State, 5 p.m. TV: Versus HD


Mountain West Basketball Tournament 2011 Bracket Update: Jimmer Fredette's 52 Points Leads BYU Over New Mexico, 87-76

The BYU Cougars advanced to the championship game of the 2011 Mountain West Conference Tournament following their 87-76 victory over the New Mexico Lobos. Most of the credit must go to Jimmer Fredette, who scored 52 points for BYU. He hit on seven three-pointers and was 22-of-37 overall from the field. His points total set a conference tournament record.

While the game was mostly the Jimmer Fredette Show, Jackson Emery added 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals. Kyle Collinsworth contributed 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Lobos put up a good offensive effort thanks to a trio of players. Drew Gordon led the way with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Kendall Williams and A.J. Hardeman added 13 points and 11 points, respectively. Jamal Fenton had 14 points off the bench (BYU, by contract, had only one point).

The Cougars will play the victor of the San Diego St. Aztecs-UNLV Runnin' Rebels matchup.


Mountain West Tournament 2011: Previewing The Semifinals

The semifinals are set for Friday evening with a pair of potentially good games with BYU taking on New Mexico in the first semifinal and the San Diego St. Aztecs facing against the UNLV Rebels.

BYU struggled to beat No. 9 TCU and that close matchup forced BYU to play Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery  the entire 40 minutes. The bench for BYU was non-existent against TCU as they scored only two points. New Mexico advanced to this round by beating the Colorado St. Rams to extend life into New Mexico's NCAA tournament odds.

This is the third meeting between these two teams with New Mexico winning both times in fact the Lobos have won five straight games over the Cougars. New Mexico creates problems with BYU due to the athleticism that BYU can not match with players like Dairese Gary and Phillip McDonald. BYU will need Fredette to take over this game for BYU to have a chance. New Mexico is still on the NCAA tournament bubble and will need to win this game to keep their chances alive.

In the night cap, San Diego State will be taking on the streaking UNLV Rebels who have won six in a row with their last loss coming against San Diego State at home. Even though San Diego State swept UNLV, the Rebels will be a tough out tonight since they are playing on their home court, and the Rebels always seem to step up their play during the Mountain West tournament.. The Aztecs have a lot riding on this game as they are trying to claim a two-seed in the NCAA tournament. Expect this game to be a back-and-forth game as the two prior matchups have gone this season.

BYU must have better shooting

Here is the remaining schedule. All times mountain.

No. 1 BYU vs. No. 5 New Mexico, 7 p.m. TV: CBS College Sports

No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 3 UNLV 9:30 p.m. TV: CBS College Sports

March 12

Championship Game, 5 p.m. TV: Versus HD


Mountain West Tournament 2011 Bracket Update: San Diego St. Handles Utah, 64-50

The San Diego St. Aztecs moved to the semifinals of the 2011 Mountain West Conference Tournament following their 64-50 victory over the Utah Utes. The Aztecs and the Utes played evenly for the first 10 minutes of the game, but the Aztecs soon pulled away and had a 30-15 lead at halftime.

Utah's 35-point second half was a bit too late as the Aztecs countered with 34 of their own. Utah's Will Clyburn had a game-high 20 points and pulled down seven boards, but San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard and Malcolm Thomas had better overall nights. Thomas narrowly missed a triple-double with his 13-point, 10-rebound and 8-assist night. Leonard added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Both teams got burned on turnovers, combining for 36.

The Aztecs face the winner of the UNLV-Air Force game tomorrow night to advance to the championship game. It appears we'll be treated to another BYU-San Diego St. game.

Here is the rest of the MWC schedule (all times MT):

Friday, March 11

No. 1 BYU vs. No. 5 New Mexico, 7 p.m. TV: CBS College Sports HD

No. 2 San Diego St. vs. UNLV-Air Force winner, 9:30 p.m. TV: CBS College Sports HD

Saturday, March 12

Championship, 5 p.m. TV: Versus HD


Mountain West Tournament Bracket Update: Colorado St. Rams Fall To New Mexico, 67-61

The Colorado St. Rams won't be heading to the Big Dance following their loss to the New Mexico Lobos, 67-61, in the quarterfinals. Rams forward Andy Ogide, an All-Mountain West First Teamer, had 25 points (a game-high) and 11 rebounds, but Travis Franklin, an All-Mountain West Honorable Mention selection, failed to show up, scoring zero points. Wes Eikmeier and Dorian Green combined for 27 points.

The Lobos did a good job out-rebounding the Rams, 33-26. Drew Gordon had a game-high 13 rebounds to go with his 13 points, four assists and three blocks. A.J. Hardeman pulled down nine boards, scored 10 points, stole the ball four times and blocked it twice.

The Rams are now 19-12 on the season and will have a spot in the NIT. According to the Bracket Project's latest field of 32, the Rams would be a No. 2 seed and play against Drexel. ESPNU will have the NIT Selection Show on Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. MT.


2011 Mountain West Tournament: Quarterfinal Play Begins Today

TCU defeated Wyoming Wednesday afternoon in the opening round game and now get to take on top-seeded BYU in the first game of the day. The big game Thursday is when the Colorado St. Rams take on the New Mexico Lobos; both teams are fighting for an NCAA tournament berth and the loser of that game is eliminated from tournament play.

No. 1 BYU vs. No. 9 TCU, 1 p.m. TV: The Mtn. HD
This will be BYU's third game without star forward Brandon Davies, but they should have little trouble against TCU. In the two meetings this year BYU had no issues against TCU winning both games by scores of 83-67 and 79-56. BYU will want to get a big lead so that they do not have to rely on Jimmer Fredette scoring 30-plus points to get the win. The only way TCU can upset BYU is if the whole BYU team goes on a shooting slump at the same time.

No. 4 Colorado State vs. No. 5 New Mexico, 3:30 p.m. TV: The Mtn. HD/CBS College Sports HD
These two teams will be motivated to move on because they both know if they lose they are heading to the NIT. They split the season series this year, but the main difference is where each team is heading. The Lobos have picked up their game and have won three in a row after suffering a four-game losing streak. The Rams have lost four of their last five games and that included a loss to Utah.

If the teams prior two matchups are any indication then this game will be a defensive struggle since the prior games were both in the 60's. Coaching should be the key difference in this game and that would go to New Mexico's Steve Alford who has NCAA tournament experience at both New Mexico and Iowa, while Colorado State's Tim Miles has only one year ever of division one post season experience.

No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 7 Utah, 7 p.m. TV: The Mtn. HD
The Aztecs are on a mission to try to gain a number two overall seed in the NCAA tournament, so they will want to get a bid lead and rest their starters since they most likely will be taking on UNLV in round two. This also could be the last game for Utah's Jim Boylen, so perhaps the Utes will show up with a good effort. The talent disparity between the two teams is so great that it is hard to see the Aztecs lose to Utah. Utah can win only if Will Clyburn and Josh Watkins both go over 30 points each, but even then that may not be enough.

No. 3 UNLV vs. No. 6 Air Force, 9:30 p.m. TV: The Mtn. HD/CBS College Sports HD
Air Force has the ability to frustrate teams with their über slow offensive pace, and earlier in the season Air Force almost upset UNLV in an unwatchable 49-42 game. UNLV would have to play one of their worst games of the year to lose to Air Force. UNLV is essentially a tournament lock they would be much safer by defeating Air Force. Look for UNLV to force a face pace game against Air Force to take them out of their comfort zone and cruise to an easy victory.


Mountain West Tournament Bracket Update: TCU Defeats Wyoming, 70-61

The TCU Horned Frogs won their second-ever Mountain West tournament game as they defeated the Wyoming Cowboys, 70-61, in the opening round game of the Mountain West tournament. The win ended the Horned Frogs 13-game losing streak.

TCU had four players score in double-digit figures with Greg Hill leading the way with 18 points and making four-of-five beyond the arc. Hank Thomas also had a big game by scoring 16 points and dishing out nine assists. The TCU defense was stellar in this game as they held Wyoming to shooting a paltry .375 from the field and an even worse .286 from three point range, where Wyoming only made six three-pointers in 21 attempts.

It looked as if TCU was going to run a way with the game as they built an 11-point lead early in the first-half, but Wyoming was able to close out the half to make it a 27-24 lead. Wyoming even took a brief 42-41 lead in the second half, but that would be their first and only lead of the game. TCU would counter the Wyoming lead by scoring nine straight points to put the game out of reach.

TCU now faces top seed BYU Cougars on Thursday at 1 p.m.


2011 Mountain West Tournament: Tournament Predictions

The Mountain West tournament begins tomorrow with the Wyoming Cowboys taking on the TCU Horned Frogs in the opening round game. Neither of those teams has a shot to win the Mountain West tournament, barring a miracle when they take on BYU who is without Brandon Davies. There are five legitimate contenders in this tournament, and if any of these teams make the finals anything can happen.

  • UNLV -- The Rebels host the tournament and has made the finals six times when they host the tournament.
  • BYU -- The Cougars are the top seed for a reason and have Jimmer Frdette, enough said.
  • San Diego State -- The Aztecs might be the favorite with BYU down Brandon Davies, but getting past the home team UNLV will not be easy.
  • New Mexico -- The Lobos may have received the best draw out of any team, because they beat BYU twice this year and have a good shot if they can get past Colorado State.
  • Colorado State -- If the Rams can get past New Mexico then they have a chance to advance when they take on BYU. The Rams did lose twice to BYU during the regular season but each time it was less then 10 points with Brandon Davies.

Now onto what the rest of the people are saying will happen in the Mountain West tournament:

The Sports Network -- Predicts San Diego State to win the conference tournament over BYU.

ESPN college basketball writers -- None of the 10 ESPN college basketball experts pick BYU to win the tournament. Seven have San Diego State winning it all with three taking UNLV.

Rivals -- They also are going with San Diego State to win the conference tournament over BYU.

College Hoops Journal -- Is sticking with the majority by taking the Aztecs over the Cougars.

Looks like out the people across the web making predictions have San Diego State as the favorite to win the Mountain West tournament.


2011 Mountain West Tournament: A Deeper Look At The Seeding

Now that the bracket is set for the Mountain West conference tournament, it is time to take a closer look at the bracket. The way the seeding played out this conference tournament could be very interesting and have an outcome that most on the outside may not see coming. While BYU is the one-seed and still possibly the favorite even without forward Brandon Davies, do not be surprised if they fall to the New Mexico Lobos in round two. New Mexico is an athletic team that causes a lot of trouble that has beaten BYU with and without Davies. The matchup without Davies may have been an aberration since it was days after they had a huge road win over San Diego State and it was the day after they found out about the Davies suspension.

Before that matchup can even take place, fellow bubble team Colorado State takes on New Mexico in the four-five matchup. New Mexico is much further off the bubble then Colorado State as the Lobos have lost to Utah twice and to Wyoming but they have two high-quality wins over BYU, and that is what Colorado State is lacking. Even with those two good wins for New Mexico they most likely will need to win the Mountain West tournament to get into the NCAA tournament. Colorado State has a solid top-50 RPI, but lack the quality wins that the Lobos have. However, the Rams position in the tournament is better then the Lobos as the Rams are one of the last eight teams out and if they make it to the Mountain West finals they should be in the tournament.

The other side of the bracket should feature the UNLV Rebels and the San Diego St. Aztecs in the semifinals, and even though the Aztecs swept the season series against UNLV this potential game will be on the home court of UNLV. The Rebels have been to the conference tournament titles six out of the seven times it has been played on their home court -- in 2001 UNLV was ineligible for the conference tournament -- which leads to some feeling that UNLV has an unfair advantage by hosting the conference tournament.

The way the bracket is laid out it is possible to see both San Diego State and BYU not in the conference finals, and if UNLV slips up in the finals then a fourth team could be in the NCAA tournament from the Mountain West.


Mountain West Player Of The Year Award Goes To Jimmer Fredette; Air Force, Colorado State Players Recognized

The Mountain West announced its 2011 Player of the Year Award on Monday, and to no surprise BYU Cougars guard Jimmer Fredette took the prize home. Fredette led the Cougars to a 28-3 overall record and averaged team-highs with 27.9 points and 4.3 assists. He also made the All-Mountain West First Team.

Colorado St. Rams sophomore forward Pierce Hornung won the conference's Sixth Man of the Year Award. He appeared in all 30 games and averaged 4.3 points and 4.5 rebounds. He added 17 blocks and 33 steals.

Hornung's teammate, Andy Ogide, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound senior forward, made the All-Mountain West First Team. He averaged 17.0 points and 7.6 points over the season. Travis Franklin (12.3 points, 4.6 rebounds) was an Honorable Mention selection. The Rams finished 19-11 and are a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament.

The Air Force Falcons hoped that Derek Brooks would have won the Sixth Man of the Year Award, but settled for sophomore guard Michael Lyons making All-Mountain West Third Team. Tom Fow and Evan Washington were Honorable Mention choices.

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