02/16/2008 MWC Basketball Preview

The conference races are heating up with first place up for grabs as well as 3-5 are all jumbled and this weekends games should clear this up some.

(16-8)(14-8)

John M. Huntsman Center 2PM MT TV:

These two teams are going in different directions with Utah being on a hot streak by winning 4 of 5 while San Diego State have lost 2 straight and 4 of their last 6 games. This game for Utah is their 100th year celebration for Utah playing basketball and they will have many former Utes dating back from players who played in the 1930’s. This should be big motivation for the current Utes who are finally looking like a good team in the league that might be able to contend for a semi final spot in the conference tourney and an outside shot of making the title game. On to the game, with both teams going in different directions this is huge for both teams because if the Utes can win then they could move into the 4th spot and possible a shot at 3rd. SDSU if they lose will firmly drop into the middle of the pack. The Aztecs have just looked sluggish as of late losing to a floundering TCU and New Mexico is not what this team had in mind. Never doubt the Aztecs because they are probably the most athletic team in the league, but at times they all just disappear and they need Lorrenzo Wade and Kyle Spain to bring their scoring prowess to the game and try to lift their team. Utah plays a great defensive game and match that up with SDSU’s recent scoring woes and the fact that the Aztecs only shoot 44% from the field and if the Utes can bring their smothering defense the Utes should pull this one off.

(10-13)(12-11)

Clune Arena 4PM MT TV:

This is a game could be the battle of the who gets out of the 8/9 play in game, because Wyoming has been playing better of late and can actually move up to a tie in 6th or to the 7th spot. Air Force which started playing well in the beginning of the year has fallen quickly as of late. The last time these two teams played in Laramie and the Falcons won by 2 in overtime, so this game should go into the favor of Air Force because they are more consistent at home. Wyoming by playing better with their guard play that starts with Brandon Ewing, should be able to keep this close but they will need to keep the pace at a high intensity to try to make Air Force play out of their game. Air Force should still get the win, but they better be on top of their game to win this game.

(12-11) (19-6)

The Pit 7PM MT TV:
New Mexico is looking for their 20th win of the year and would be the first MWC to achieve that mark. TCU in their last game got smoked on the road at Wyoming and is falling dangerously close to falling into the 8 and 9 spot if they continue this way of play. New Mexico at home is a pretty good team and looks pretty good when they play on inferior opponents. Last time these two played New Mexico had a huge lead before melting away to the TCU press and lost on a last second shot, so that should be some motivation for the Lobos. If New Mexico wants to be considered a top team in the league they must defeat

(19-5) (19-5)

The Marriott Center 7PM MT TV: CSTV PPV

This is the game of the night and a battle for first place. If UNLV wins then they have same record but own the tiebreaker over BYU by winning both games against them. If BYU wins then they would have a 2 game edge over the rest of the league, in the first go around the Cougars were crushed by almost 30 points on the road to UNLV. BYU is amazing at home and is looking for their 45th straight home win and looking to all but wrap of the number one seed in for the conference tourney. This game should have a different outcome because of how much better the Cougars are when at the Marriott Center. Both teams are playing well as of late with BYU winning 7 straight and then UNLV winning 7 of 8 with their last loss coming in Utah to the Utes. This seems to be a big game because it’s the top 2 teams in the league, but in reality since the conference tourney is in Vegas as long as these two teams stay one and two they will not meet until the final. BYU will be motivated however, because of the beat down they took last time in Vegas. Lee Cummard of BYU has been playing at a much higher level in the past few games and is helping BYU be more well rounded and helping the team play better.  This is the best game of the night by far and should be competitive till the end, but BYU should win this game because of the home court.

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