SARNIA, Ont. — Could the 2019 NCAA Tournament be the year that the Mountain West bucks the trend of one bid and send multiple teams back to the tournament?
The last time that the Mountain West Conference had more than two teams in the NCAA Tournament was back in 2015. The Boise State Broncos were in the First Four, fighting for an 11-seed against the Dayton Flyers, while the Wyoming Cowboys earned a 12-seed as conference champions and the San Diego Aztecs earned an 8-seed as an at-large pick.
Last season, the Nevada Wolf Pack made a deep run into the NCAA Tournament after receiving an at-large bid into the Big Dance as the 7-seed in the South Regional. The San Diego Aztecs earned the automatic berth after winning the conference tournament, and they earned the 11-seed in the West Regional.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, many feel as though that this could be the second consecutive year that the conference sends multiple teams to the tournament. After last season, several teams will be without their star players and faces of the program. New players will step up and take on expanded roles, while key returnees should finally get the national attention they deserve.
From All-Conference selections to breakout freshmen, the Mountain West Conference is full of underrated players. We did our best to narrow the list down to 10 players to keep an eye on as the 2018-19 season quickly approaches.
The talent level of basketball players coming out of Canada over the past few years has been impressive, and there are no signs of that slowing down any time soon.
Several of the top recruits in the Class of 2017 are from the Great White North. Guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (#29 in ESPN’s Top 100) has committed to the Virginia Tech Hokies, guard Lindell Wigginton (#49) has committed to the Iowa State Cyclones, and forward Christian David (#83) has committed to the Butler Bulldogs.
While the future is bright, the present is also just as bright for the game of basketball in Canada.
The 2016-17 season isn’t even two weeks old yet, but there are several Canadians who have looked impressive in the NCAA. Some are in their first years in Division I, while others are experienced leaders on championship contenders.
With the exhibition season in full swing, and coming to a close early this week, that can mean only one thing.
The 2016-17 college basketball regular season is just around the corner!
Things get underway Friday, November 11th at Noon EST with the first regular season game of the season, and there will be a plethora of talent on display across all 32 conferences all season long.
Before the season gets started, we decided to hand out some preseason hardware, in the form of our Conference Player of the Year award and All-Conference Teams.
Along with that, we have the College Court Report All-Americans, and the Mid-Major Player of the Year Preseason Watch List. Links to all of the conference awards and the Watch List can be found at the bottom of each article.
To say the least, the off-season leading up to the 2016-17 season has been a roller coaster for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. From two coaching changes to a plethora of players departing the program, the state of the Rebels has been in question since the 2015-16 season came to an end.
First, UNLV tabbed Chris Beard as their new head coach. Beard led the Little Rock Trojans to the Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles, while advancing to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Two weeks after being hired, Beard left the Rebels for the vacant position with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, leaving UNLV without a coach once again.
The Rebels found their man in Marvin Menzies, formerly of the New Mexico State Aggies, and he was given the daunting task of piecing together a virtually empty roster. The vast majority of the Rebels’ key players from a season ago had either transferred, graduated, or entered the NBA Draft early.
Menzies has added some high quality talent via the transfer market that can help right away, but the Rebels will still be in tough to open 2016-17. They have a tough non-conference slate before the grind of conference play opens up in late-December. Continue reading 2016-17 Schedules: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels→
2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher is the 8th-ranked point guard in the Class of 2016, and is the 2nd-ranked recruit from the state of Tennessee. He was a highly-coveted recruit before he ultimately committed to the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.
With Fisher in the mix, the Rebels had a top-tier point guard who could step in and contribute from the outset.
Then, the coaching change fiasco hit, and Fisher was starting to reconsider his options.
Chris Beard was signed at the Rebels’ latest head coach, then left just two weeks later when a head coaching position opened up with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Beard was an assistant there with the Red Raiders under the great Bobby Knight.
From a graduation standpoint, you’d be hard-pressed to find a team in the NCAA who is losing more talent than the Michigan State Spartans. Due to graduation, Matt Costello, Colby Wollenman, Bryn Forbes, and Denzel Vaneltine are all gone from the team.
Add in the transfers of both Marvin Clark, Jr. (St. John’s) and Javon Bess, and Tom Izzo has his hands full trying to replace a ton of talent.
The Spartans have a top-five recruiting class coming in next season, but are looking for some experienced players to come in and help out right away. Michigan State was looking to be a big player on the transfer market, especially in terms of graduate transfers.
On Wednesday morning, they got a big commitment from a forward who can step in and contribute right away for the Spartans.