MW Tournament could be a wild one

The Mountain West came up with a hashtag for its conference basketball tournament this year: #MWMadness.

That may be a good way to describe how the men’s tournament plays out this year.

2016 Mountain West Tournament

2016 Mountain West Tournament

Of course, as I say this watch it be chalk all the way through. But if the regular season was any indication, expect the unexpected.

No. 2 seed Fresno State seems to be the popular pick as the Bulldogs seem to be playing the best basketball of all the teams. Top seed San Diego State quietly just gets it done.

Boise State and New Mexico have the talent to win this tournament, but so do lower seeds like Colorado State, UNLV, Utah State and yes, even Wyoming — although the Cowboys will be hard-pressed to win four games in four days with seven scholarship players available.

Wyoming, as a No. 7 seed in 2006, is the lowest seed to reach a MW Tournament championship game. A No. 6 seed is the lowest to win the tournament.

I think one, maybe two teams seeded six through 11 will make it to the semifinals. But my pick is with top seed San Diego State. Defense wins championships, and no one does it better than the Aztecs.

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Unless something happen over the summer — and it just might — this will be the last year the MW Tournament featured all 11 teams. Next year it will go to just the top eight men’s and women’s teams.

This has generated a lot of criticism among the league’s coaches and fans. UW coach Larry Shyatt and San Diego State coach Steve Fisher has led the charge of this criticism.

Tim Duryea

Tim Duryea

This is what Utah State coach Tim Duryea said about it this week.

“During league meetings (last) spring the coaches were totally against it,” Duryea said. “Since then coach Shyatt and coach Fisher have collected some data go back to our athletic directors and school presidents with that show it’s not a good policy. You’re taking away opportunities for student-athletes.

“Some are worried a little bit about (allowing all the teams to play) will hurt the RPI of other teams. Coach Fisher did some research and it and shows that’s not the case. If it is strictly dollars, I don’t think there’s no justification for the change. We shouldn’t make a decision like that based on dollars. I don’t think we are a league that needs to do that.”

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The media that covers the MW released its all-conference teams and individual honors Sunday. For the second straight year, the media did its own voting as the MW coaches decided to not include the media in its voting.

Each “market” had individual votes. Myself and Ryan Holmgren from the Casper Star-Tribune combined for UW’s representation in the voting process.

Here is the link to how the voting turned out: http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/mens_basketball/mw-media-votes-josh-adams-player-of-the-year/article_eedc5e5a-e3ba-11e5-a5db-57bf153ec3a7.html

And, here is now myself and Holmgren voted:

  1. Josh Adams, Wyoming, Sr. (Player of the Year)
  2. Marvelle Harris, Fresno State, Sr.
  3. Elijah Brown, New Mexico, So. (Newcomer of the Year)
  4. James Webb III, Boise State, Jr.
  5. Tim Williams, New Mexico, Jr.
  6. Winston Shepard, San Diego State, Sr.
  7. Marqueze Coleman, Nevada, Sr.
  8. Patrick McCaw, UNLV, So.
  9. Trey Kell, San Diego State, So.
  10. Cameron Oliver, Nevada (Freshman of the Year)
  11. Jalen Moore, Utah State, Jr.
  12. Mikey Thompson, Boise State, Sr.
  13. Antwan Scott, Colorado State, Sr.
  14. Jason McManamen, Wyoming, Jr.
  15. Hayden Graham, Air Force, Jr.

Coach of the Year: Steve Fisher, San Diego State

Defensive Player of the Year: Skylar Spencer, San Diego State, Sr.

Sixth Man of the Year: Brandon Clarke, San Jose State, Fr.

Agree or disagree? How would you have voted on this? Would love to hear your feedback.

UW plays Utah State at noon MT today in a first-round game at the MW Tournament. For more on the game, check out the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and log on to wyosports.net.