NCAA Basketball’s Mountain West helping UNLV resume

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The Mountain West Conference is the only league in college basketball to not have a team with a losing record. Granted, there are only eight teams, but the worst overall record is Boise State at 10-10.

Five of the eight teams are making strong cases for invites to the NCAA tournament. Colorado State’s big win over San Diego State will help their cause while New Mexico and Wyoming both have impressive 17-4 records.

UNLV escaped with back to back overtime road wins at Boise State and Air Force last week continuing a trend of poor play on the road. They have gone 1-6 against-the-spread in their last seven road games. At home, the Rebels have been unbeatable and strangle teams with a relentless attack, but can’t seem to play with the same tenacity when traveling.

We’ll find out more about the Rebels, and their opponents, this week as they play Colorado State at home and then travel to Wyoming this Saturday. Then they’ll have an entire week to prepare for San Diego State at home, a team the Rebels haven’t beaten in three years.

BYU Missing MWC

There were plenty of people in Provo who felt BYU would coast through their schedule in their new conference this year. The West Coast Conference doesn’t get a lot of ink in the national media or even the West Coast scribes, despite having two of the most competitive teams annually in the nation, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.

Saturday night BYU and Provo got a healthy taste of WCC basketball as Saint Mary’s drilled them on their home court 80-66. It was the second time BYU has lost to Saint Mary’s this season and their third overall in conference. Two weeks ago Loyola-Marymount pounded BYU 80-68 as 17-point underdogs.

As for Saint Mary’s, they continue to move up in the polls and have won 11 straight games, including 10-0 in WCC play. Their only losses on the season came to Baylor, which is understandable, but then there’s the loss to Denver. Yes, the Pioneers took down Saint Mary’s in November.

Unfortunately, if betting on Saint Mary’s, the spread is usually too high to cover the spread. They’ve been double digit favorites in six of their last nine games, including four games where they’ve been 16-point favorites or higher. In all four cases, they failed to cover the large spread. They are 3-5 ATS in their last eight games.

The Wild A-10

The Atlantic-10 might be the toughest conference to figure out. Just over a month ago, it looked as though Dayton might be the class of the conference with quality wins over Alabama, Mississippi, St. Louis and Temple, but on Saturday they lost their second straight game and it was their ugliest loss of the season.

Dayton was a 13-point home favorite against Rhode Island and lost outright, 86-81. This drops Dayton to 4-3 in conference play and 14-7 overall. Meanwhile, Rhode Island captured its first conference win and improved to 4-18 overall.

U-Mass, La Salle and St Bonaventure lead the A-10 with a 5-2 record within the conference. Temple is currently 4-2 in conference play and has the highest A-10 RPI rating at No. 15. With the bad loss Saturday, Dayton slid all the way to No. 36. The A-10 ranks No. 7 in the RPI’s, just above the Missouri Valley and just below the ACC.

Fire Breathing Dragons

One of the hottest teams in college basketball right now is the Drexel Dragons from the Colonial Athletic Association. They have won and covered their last nine games and done so with fairly moderate spreads.

Along the way they have taken care of perennial conference powers such as VCU and George Mason and have only been double-digit favorites three times during their run. We’ll find out a little more about them over their next three games, all on the road, beginning Wednesday at Northeastern, a team they won and covered against two weeks ago as 9-point favorites.

Wacky Pac-12

Last week we saw Washington win at Arizona, UCLA slow Colorado and Oregon State end Oregon’s four game win streak. Who knows what to make of the conference right now that has California as their top rated RPI team at No. 34.

Sunday’s Oregon loss was the most apparent reason to believe that this conference is about as whacked out as any in the nation. The civil war battle is always tough, but it was hard to fathom the reasoning for Oregon being only a 1-point favorite at home to the Beavers.

After placing a bet on such a bad line, Oregon State went on to win 76-71, a score not indicative of the true beating placed on the Ducks.

No one could have ever thought possible, but the conference tournament winner at the Staples Center in Los Angeles come March could be the only invite to the Big Dance.

 

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