Today in MWC Hoops (1-23-13)
Another 2-2 day with wins on CSU and Air Force and losses on San Diego State and Fresno State. My season record now stands at 10-6 which would be OK if I hadn’t started 4-0.
Air Force took over the game against Boise State at the 15 minute mark and never looked back. The Falcons put on an offense clinic as they built the lead to nearly 20 points before winning 91-80. Michael Lyons scored about a zillion points (37 to be exact). Boise 3-point specialist Jeff Eloriagga missed the game due to a concussion. How does a team go from 40 to 91 offensively in three days?
Colorado State and UNLV hooked up in a physical clash that featured great shooting early and great defense late. The Rams ran out to a 10-point first half lead but an 11-point Rebel run wrapped around halftime made the game close. The teams went back and forth at each other like prizefighters until Pierce Hornung stole a couple of extra possessions for the Rams. Dorian Green made 6 free throws down the stretch to give the Rams a solid 66-61 win. And a Bryce Dejean-Jones missed layup with seconds left gave me the win with the spread at 3.5.
What can I say about San Diego State other than they trailed 20-9 at the half up in Laramie. Strong defense by the Pokes and horrible shooting by the Aztecs is all you need to know as Wyoming recorded a 58-45 win to put themselves back into the league chase. Not a lot of depth but certainly a puncher’s chance for the Cowboys. Leonard Washington had another double-double. Jamaal Franklin added another technical to push his nation-leading total one higher.
Nevada recorded their first MWC win at Fresno. Who would have thunk it? Not me. Eff the Wolf Pack as they kept me from having a 3-1 day.
And so New Mexico is the only team now with a 0 in either their win or loss column as they stand alone at the top of the MWC at 3-0. Every other team has recorded at least one victory and 5 teams conference records stand at 2-2.
Colorado State @ New Mexico (-4.5) – The battle between the two teams that are currently at the top of the standings. A win for New Mexico and they vault to a 2-game lead on the field. A win for CSU and its game on. Screw any analysis. Its the league’s best offense against the league’s best defense. Take the Rams and the points. I think the basketball gods want the MWC race to be close and will look kindly on the Rams tonight.
Fresno State @ Boise (-11.5) – This one is pretty tricky. Boise is a great three-point shooting team with or without Elorriaga. Fresno defends the three-ball better than anyone in the MWC with their defensive energy on the perimeter. I’m not sure if Boise will get a lot of open looks but I think Derrick Marks will get into the paint and will get to the free throw line with regularity. Take the Broncos and give the points and hope that Boise makes their free throws to establish a lead.
San Diego State @ Nevada (+5.5) – How can anyone trust the Aztecs after their dismal performance against Wyoming? The Aztecs are reeling with a 2-game losing streak and have fallen out of the Top 25 after a promising start to the season. It is a must win to keep their title hopes alive. They are not the same team without Xavier Thames who had played basically one good half in conference. I look for this game to be a foul fest and the team that plays the best free throw defense will win. I’ll take the Wolf Pack and the points in a close one.