My favorite quote is Dave Rose’s. BYU/UNLV is definitely turning into a great rivalry. I have made notes in blue throughout the CAPSULES.
Mar. 12, 2008
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE MEN’S TEAM CAPSULES
(1) BRIGHAM YOUNG
• RECORD: 25-6, 14-2 MWC
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: Louisville
• PLAYER TO WATCH: Lee
Cummard. The 6-foot-7-inch junior guard, averaging 15.8 points, 6.6
rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, was voted MWC co-Player of the Year.
He was the only player in the conference to rank in the top 10 in nine
statistical categories during league action.
• FAST FACT: The Cougars are the first team to win back-to-back outright Mountain West regular-season titles.
• COACHSPEAK: “As far as playing UNLV in the championship game on their home floor, that’s what we hope happens.” — Dave Rose
(And that is exactly what each fan is also hoping happens.)
• RECORD: 23-7, 12-4
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: San Diego, UNR, Minnesota (Ouch!!! Don’t think this won’t be brought up a gagillion times to the Selection Committee. Also of note, until last night San Diego was not on that list.)
• PLAYER TO WATCH: Curtis
Terry. The senior point guard led the conference in assists with 5.9
per game in league play. The Rebels were 7-0 in games in which Terry
scored at least 15 points. (See, I think Joe D, Double R, and Big Matt will be the keys. Curtis and Wink are both clutch so they will show up big time. How these three step up will be what gets us over the hump.)
• FAST FACT: At the Thomas
& Mack Center this season, the Rebels posted double-digit victories
over Brigham Young (70-41), New Mexico (79-60) and San Diego State
(68-58). (I still don’t get why other teams hate the tourney being on our court? Seriously though, if a team like New Mexico is able to beat us on Friday do they not think that the Selection committee will consider that a road win and extremely improve their resume. These are the things that the coaches know, but aren’t saying.)
• COACHSPEAK: “I think the conference tournament will be outstanding. There are going to be some really interesting matchups.” — Lon Kruger (Listen I love Coach Kruger like I love my yet to be fertilzed child, but you are never going to see him make quotes like Dave Rose. He will just stare at you!!!)
(3) NEW MEXICO
• RECORD: 24-7, 11-5
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: San Diego, Texas Tech, New Mexico State (Hey look! They got the recent “San Diego” boost as well.)
• PLAYER TO WATCH: J.R.
Giddens. A transfer from Kansas, the senior guard led the MWC in
scoring (18.3) and rebounding (8.3) in league games. He was the only
player to record two 30-point outings in conference play, including a
career-high 36 against Wyoming. (Um, yeah, Giddens scares the hell out of me right now. This guy is on another level. If we play them on Friday I’ll be watching like a chick watches a scary movie, holding on to Dustin’s arm and all.)
• FAST FACT: The Lobos tied the school record for regular-season wins shared by the 1977-78 and 1995-96 teams.
• COACHSPEAK: “I
think it’s very, very important for our league to really look closely
at what we’re doing with our league tournament. The league tournament
needs to be at a neutral site. Right now, it’s not fair to the other
eight teams in our league.” — Steve Alford (Shut your pie hole Steve Alford. We both know that you cannot beat BYU, even on your home court. You would lose to them even if the conference tourney were in the Pit. And we all know, as I stated above, that New Mexico benefits from the tourney being held at the Thomas and Mack Center more than any team. Doesn’t a win over UNLV on their court this time of the year essentially make you the second MWC team in the tourney and send UNLV to the NIT? Holy crap, that’s true. I just peed a little.)
(4) SAN DIEGO STATE
• RECORD: 19-11, 9-7
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: San Diego, Sam Houston State (Seriously, is there a MWC team that hasn’t beat San Diego?)
• PLAYER TO WATCH: Lorrenzo
Wade. A Cheyenne High School product, the 6-6 junior was voted
first-team all-conference after finishing league play as one of three
players to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocked
shots and field-goal percentage.
• FAST FACT: The Aztecs
are looking for their 20th victory, and the 25 teams that won at least
20 games all advanced to the postseason in the first eight seasons of
the Mountain West.
• COACHSPEAK: “We’re going to put in a
whole new offense and hopefully that will trick them a little bit.” —
Steve Fisher, whose team scored 49 and 43 points in splitting two games
this season against Air Force, the Aztecs’ quarterfinal opponent in the
MWC tournament. (Um, Steve, a little late in the year to be putting a “whole new offense” in, don’t you think? If you haven’t put it together by this point…well, at least you did succeed in tricking this guy.)
(5) AIR FORCE
• RECORD: 16-13, 8-8
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: None
• PLAYER TO WATCH: Tim
Anderson. The senior guard was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year.
The Falcons led the league in scoring defense (57.3 points per game)
for the sixth straight season.
• FAST FACT: The Falcons, 0-8 all time in the MWC tournament, have lost 15 straight opening-round conference tournament games.
• COACHSPEAK: “Before
this season, I don’t think anybody thought we would have three teams
deserving of an NCAA bid and this conference would be as strong as it
is top to bottom. Next year, I think it will be unbelievable.” — Jeff
Reynolds (It’s never a good thing when the coaches comments before the conference tourney includes the phrase “next year”. It’s also not a good sign that the team playing them thinks the only chance of victory is to change their entire offense 30 games into the season. The Mountain West Conference: where self-defeating quotes hapen.)
• RECORD: 16-13, 7-9
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: California, Utah State
• PLAYER TO WATCH: Luke
Nevill. The 7-1 junior center from Australia averages 15.0 points and
6.5 rebounds per game and is shooting 54.6 percent from the field.
• FAST FACT: The
Utes’ sixth man, senior guard Johnnie Bryant, is their No. 2 scorer at
14.2 points per game. Bryant started all 30 games as a junior and made
27 starts as a sophomore.
• COACHSPEAK: “We feel we can play with anybody. We’ve put ourselves in position to win a lot of games that we haven’t won.” — Jim Boylen (Alright, second place for the most self-defeating comment goes to Jim Boylen. On a side note, no one at UNLV wants to see Luke Neville for a third time.)
(7) TEXAS CHRISTIAN
• RECORD: 14-15, 6-10
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: None
• PLAYER TO WATCH: Kevin
Langford. The junior forward, who graduated in December with a degree
in sociology, averages 13.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
• FAST FACT: Ten
different players have started at least one game for the Horned Frogs.
Only Langford and senior guard Brent Hackett have started all 29 games.
• COACHSPEAK: “They
have interchangeable parts and they are able to put up great defensive
pressure.” — Neil Dougherty, on UNLV, which beat TCU twice by an
average of 15.5 points per game. (Joe D. playing center and C. Terry running point aren’t examples of interchangeable parts. Rather and example of fitting square pegs in circle holes, and a coach hitting a hammer as hard as he can to make them fit anyway.)
• RECORD: 12-17, 5-11
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: Colorado
• PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandon
Ewing. The junior guard was the MWC scoring leader as a sophomore. He
ranks second in scoring in all games this season, averaging 16.8
points. He ranks fourth in conference play at 16.2 ppg.
• FAST FACT: The
Cowboys were the No. 7 seed when they reached the 2006 tournament title
game, losing to top-seeded San Diego State in overtime.
• COACHSPEAK: “When
you’re playing your rival for the third time, it’s really difficult.”
— Heath Schroyer, whose team beat Colorado State by 15 and 10 points
(9) COLORADO STATE
• RECORD: 6-24, 0-16
• KEY NONCONFERENCE WINS: Portland State
• PLAYER TO WATCH: Marcus
Walker. The junior guard led the MWC in scoring in all games, averaging
17.2 points. In conference games, he finished No. 2 at 18.1 ppg, three
total points behind New Mexico’s Giddens (293-290).
• FAST FACT: The Rams’ 17-game losing streak, which includes a home loss to Oklahoma Panhandle State, is the longest in school history.
• COACHSPEAK: “I want to put this season behind me, but I fight that urge. I want to give the kids the best shot to win.” — Tim Miles
The play in game between CSU and Wyoming is tonight. UNLV takes on TCU tomorrow night. And yes, all my life consists of school and college basketball right now.
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