Pac-12 and Mountain West Tournaments Highlight NCAA Action out West
NCAA Conference tournaments highlight this week’s schedule with two big tournaments helping to shape the NCAA Tournament field out west. Those two tournaments are the Mountain West and the Pac-12 tournaments.
The Mountain West tournament got underway Tuesday night with an elimination game between eight seeded Wyoming and ninth seeded Nevada. Wyoming defeated Nevada 85-81 and now faces the No. 1 seed in the tournament the New Mexico Lobos.
The big question entering this tournament is whether the UNLV Runnin Rebels can final put things together. UNLV has one of the best teams in the entire nation as far as having pure basketball talent in its roster.
However, the team has also been one of the biggest underachievers in all of college basketball. The team needs to collect themselves and find their way, or they will lose early in this tournament and maybe not even be selected for the big dance.
New Mexico led the conference all season, won the regular season title but can they win the tournament. At this point, the Lobos would most likely enter the NCAA tournament as a No. 3 seed, but that could change depending on how they perform this week in the conference tournament. If they win the tournament, they might move up to a No. 2 seed.
Four of the conference teams – New Mexico, Colorado State, San Diego State and UNLV should all be chosen this weekend for the NCAA tournament but one never knows. Boise State is a bubble team and their conference tournament play might dictate whether they are selected or not.
The conference tournament heats up on Wednesday with four games, Friday with two with the finals on Saturday.
The Pac-12 tournament takes place this week and observers are wondering just how far one of the conference teams can go in the NCAA tournament. Some believe if either Arizona or UCLA can become focused and on track, they could play their way to the Final Four.
UCLA won the conference regular season title with great offense, but is suspect on defense. Arizona has talent on both ends of the court, but does not have a true point guard who can run the offense at the caliber it needs come tournament time.
UCLA will have to play well this week in the Pac-12 tournament and make a very good showing in the NCAA’s otherwise coach Ben Howland could lose his job. Bill Walton one of the best to play at UCLA has been critical all season of Howland and the team’s supporters will not be happy if the Bruins do not make a good showing at the NCAA tournament.
In the conference, both Colorado and Arizona State need to make go showings to be selected to the NCAA’s. Certain to go are UCLA, Arizona and Oregon, with another bubble team being the California Golden Bears.
This week will be the defining moment for some basketball programs and will either propel them into the NCAA tournament or send them home to wait another year.