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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