First-year Wyoming coach Allen Edwards was asked Monday why he thinks the Cowboys’ opponent Tuesday — San Diego State — has been off this season. The Aztecs enter the game 11-9 overall and 3-5 in the Mountain West. They were picked to win the conference in the preseason by the league’s head coaches and select media. I was one of those media members, and also picked the Aztecs to win it.
“I think it’s because the league is more balanced than it has been. yet they’re only losing by a few points,” Edwards said. “Last year when going through league 16-2, they got a lot of wins by close margins. This year, they’ve not found a way to do that consistently. It may look like they’re having a down year, but many of those losses could have been flipped.”
That’s a good and fair point.
San Diego State is 0-6 in games decided by six points or less, or two possessions. Four of its five MW losses has been by six points or less, including three by three points or less. The Aztecs lost their last two games by a combined four points, but held double-digit leads in both.
Last season in league play (including the MW Tournament), the Aztecs won nine games by less than 10 points, and seven of those were by six points or less.
Not sure what that means for Tuesday’s game with UW (14-8, 4-5), or what the rest of the season holds. Each season is different no matter how many players you return. Injuries, chemistry, opponents, etc. all are factors hard to control as a college coach when you make your living working with 18-22 year-olds.
But that leads to my question I would like to pose to you: Is the MW more competitive this year from top to bottom, or is is just bad, mediocre, etc.?
Four games separate the first and last place team in the league. The bottom three teams in the conference entering this week’s games — San Jose State, UNLV and Utah State — all own wins over teams in the upper half of the league standings.
As for Wyoming, which is in sixth place this week, it is 0-4 against teams ahead of it in the standings and 4-1 against the teams below it.
Would love to hear what you think about this.
My take: The MW is better and more competitive from top to bottom, and especially near the bottom. Overall, it is a good league, but not a great league.