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2009 - 2010 Mountain West Basketball Preview

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Mountain West Teams: Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Utah, Wyoming

In his second year as coach, Utah’s Jim Boylen has had a great impact on the Mountain West Conference.  He claimed a share of the regular season title and won the MWC Tournament.  With Boylen in charge, the Utes will continue to finish in the top half of the conference, rather than the usual bottom half.  It will be fun conference play this year with 5+ of the 9 Mountain West teams talented enough to take the conference.

Read on for a brief 2009-2010 season preview and conference record prediction for each basketball team in the Mountain West Conference.  Standings/Predictions are listed at the end of the conference preview.

Mountain West Regular Season Champions: BYU, Utah, New Mexico
Mountain West Tournament Champions: Utah

Air Force

2008-2009 Record: 10-21 0-16
It’s no surprise that the Falcons finished at the bottom of the Mountain West last season.  After a 16-13 (8-8) 07-08 season, Air Force ended last season without a single conference win and an overall record of 10-21.  They were 0-17 in their last 17 games.  It’s not likely to get much better in 2009.  AFA brings back only 4 seniors (with only 22 career starts).  They lost 3 seniors and 3 other underclassmen left.  They’ll squeak out a conference win or two at best.

Predicted Conference Record: 1-15

BYU

2008-2009 Record: 25-8, 12-4
BYU went 12-4 in the MWC and shared a portion of the conference title last season.  They made it to the NCAA tournament but lost in the first round to Texas A&M.  Early in June, focus shifted from basketball to Coach Dave Rose and family at BYU.  Rose was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  It required Emergency surgery.  Coach Rose is now cancer free and ready to focus on the 2009-2010 season.  The Cougars should do alright, as they return 4 starters and a load of talent.  They may have what it takes to lead the conference, but will need to look out for UNLV, Utah, New Mexico and San Diego State.

Predicted Conference Record: 11-5

Colorado State

2008-2009 Record: 9-22, 4-12
Improvement was noticeable in the 2008-2009 season for the Rams.  Their four wins in the conference gave them four more wins than they had the year before.  They showed some promise towards the end of the season when they lost in OT to Utah and double OT to New Mexico.  If in his third year Coach Miles can win a few more, he will be well on his way to an incredible turnaround.  Lack of experience on the squad will make even 5 conference wins difficult. 

Predicted Conference Record: 5-12

New Mexico

2008-2009 Record: 22-12, 12-4
Last season the New Mexico Lobos won their first conference title in 15 years.  Well, they shared the title (with BYU and UTAH), but it still counts, right?  They played in the NIT where they fell in round 2 to the Fighting Irish.  Things will likely be more difficult for the Lobos this season.  They return few starters and lose 3 seniors.  New Mexico still has reason to be optimistic.  According to Rivals.com, their incoming class is ranked 18.  Expect New Mexico to remain competitive.

Predicted Conference Record: 9-7

San Diego State

2008-2009 Record: 26-10, 11-5
San Diego’s 2008-2009 was one of the best that fans have ever seen.  Despite going 26-10 and making it to conference tournament finals, the Aztecs were denied the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament.  They played in the NIT and lost their first game to Baylor.  Coach Fisher loses a lot of experience this year.  Lorrenzo Wade, Kyle Spain, Richie Williams, and Ryan Amoroso are among the losses.  The Aztecs will look to junior forward Billy White this season.  Last year he shot 66.3 percent, and at one point, made 22 in a row.  San Diego State should bring in a fair amount of talent this season with their top 15 recruiting class.  The Aztecs should remain a valid contender for the conference title. 

Predicted Conference Record: 10-6

TCU

2008-2009 Record: 14-17, 5-11
TCU finished 7th in the MWC and posted a 14-7 overall record last season.  It was Coach Jim Christian’s first year with TCU and his first losing season in 7 years of Coaching.  They showed some improvement on defense last year, but couldn’t hang offensively.  TCU loses All-MWC forward Kevin Langford this year, but 3 other starters return.  If TCU can make further improvements on defense this year, and get something going on offense, they might surprise a few people.  Expect last year’s losing record to be Christian’s last in a while. 

Predicted Conference Record: 9-7

UNLV

2008-2009 Record: 21-11, 9-7     
UNLV had a hard time handling high expectations last year.  Their 21-11 season that got them to the NIT, wasn’t what they were hoping for; especially considering they lost in the first round.  Coach Kruger plans on having a better 2009-2010 season.  The Rebels should have the talent and experience they need this season to find themselves in close competition with BYU, San Diego State, and Utah.

Predicted Conference Record: 11-5

Utah

2008-2009 Record: 24-10, 12-4
The Utes went 24-10, shared a portion of the regular season championship, and won the MWC Tournament Championship.  They played in the NCAA tournament, but lost to Arizona in the first round.  Utah loses center Luke Nevill and three other top scorers.  Offensively, they’ll struggle in this upcoming season.  The Utes will remain contenders for the MWC title, but with the competition they’ll be facing, will have a hard time finding themselves on top.

Predicted Conference Record: 10-6

Wyoming

2008-2009 Record: 19-14, 7-9
With what would look like a mediocre record for many other teams, Wyoming actually made a huge stride in going 10-14 and playing in the NIT.  In Coach Schroyer’s third season, the Cowboys will have a hard time shrinking the gap between themselves and the top of the conference.  They lose three of their top 4 scorers.  Still, Coach Schroyer is moving this team in the right direction.  If Wyoming can ride on the momentum from last year, they could have similar or improved success. 

Predicted Conference Record: 7-9

 Mountain West Conference Standings Prediction for the 2009-2010 Season:

  1. 1. BYU 11-5
  2. 2. UNLV 11-5
  3. 3. San Diego State 10-6
  4. 4. Utah 10-6
  5. 5. New Mexico 9-7
  6. 6. TCU 9-7
  7. 7. Wyoming 7-9
  8. 8. Colorado State 5-11
  9. 9. Air Force 1-15


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