Mountain West basketball coaches enjoy talking about the might of their conference.
“It’s not a mid-major,” AFA’s Jeff Reynolds likes to say.
And he’s been right.
The MWC hasn’t been strong enough to be considered a mid-major.
MWC teams took, as is usual, a quick exit from the NCAA Tournament. BYU performed admirably, but New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV all played typical MWC style. The tournament rolls on. The MWC is gone. Since 2000, MWC teams have won 10 games in the Big Dance.
And lost 26.
New Mexico was blessed with a No. 3 seed, which should stop the complaining about the MWC not getting the respect it deserves, and the Lobos struggled against Montana and then got smacked upside the head by Washington. The Huskies walked into the game with a No. 11 seed. New Mexico, as we’ve said, was a No. 3 seed.
And the Huskies were favored. The masterminds in Vegas seem to have a pretty good grip on the might of the MWC.
“People don’t know how tough this conference is,” Reynolds likes to say.
Again, he’s right.
The conference is a lot less tough than people have thought. The MWC is 2-6 in the NCAAs in the past two seasons.
And yet …
Next season could be different. Next season should be different.
New Mexico returns almost intact. BYU star Jimmer Fredette, who never met a shot he didn’t like, will be back to fire away from everywhere. San Diego State boasts vast potential. Even Air Force has a chance to climb the stairs of escape from the basement of college basketball.
In other words, the conference has a chance to become the conference the coaches constantly talk about.
You know, a respectable, mid-major conference.
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