Around the Mountain West

Mar 062006
Authors: Paul Baker

After the Mountain West Conference regular season ended last weekend, this is how the teams finished. These will be the seeds for the upcoming conference tournament in Denver starting tonight.

No. 1 San Diego State University (13-3 in conference, 21-8 overall)

Led by conference Player of the Year Brandon Heath and first team All-Conference selection Marcus Slaughter, the Aztecs packed a pretty tough punch as they plowed through conference this season. Both juniors, Heath and Slaughter are the top two scorers in the conference while Slaughter also ranks second in rebounds.

No. 2 Air Force Academy (12-4, 24-5)

The Falcons are arguably the hottest team in the conference right now as they won six games in a row. First-year coach Jeff Bzdelik has led them to a five-loss record. The Falcons have never won a MWC tournament game, losing in the first round each year. The team will live and die by their potent 3-point shooting offense. Look for the Falcons to go deep.

No. 3 Brigham Young University (12-4, 20-7)

The Cougars are another team that is hot right now, winning their last six games. Trent Plaisted leads the BYU offense, averaging 13.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a freshman.

No. 4 University of Nevada-Las Vegas (10-6, 16-12)

The Rebels had a disappointing season. A tough early schedule along with key injuries led to more losses than expected. Jo'Van Adams leads the team in scoring with 10.8 points per game. They face New Mexico in the first round.

No. 5 New Mexico University (8-8, 17-12)

Mark Walters leads the team in scoring with 15.8 points per game. The Lobos also have David Chiotti's strong presence under the basket. UNM has some experience in the conference tournament and could make a run.

No. 6 University of Utah (6-10, 13-14)

The Utes had an up and down season. Consistency will be key for the Utes. Bryant Markson leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game. Freshman Luke Neville led the team in rebounding with 6.2 per game.

No. 7 University of Wyoming (5-11, 12-17)

The Cowboys ended the season by losing seven of their last eight games. The only bright spots this season were the play of freshman guard Brandon Ewing and senior Justin Williams. Williams was one of the top shot blockers in the nation this year and was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year.

No. 9 Texas Christian University (2-14, 6-24)

Getting beyond the first round of the conference tournament hasn't been a problem for the Horned Frogs the last two years. As a part of Conference-USA, TCU beat Marquette in the first round the last two years. Senior Nile Murray continues to lead the Frogs averaging 16.3 points per game, as they head into the postseason.

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