Oh, what could have been for the Aztecs. San Diego State was staring at a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and appeared to be a genuine Final Four contender. The cancelation of March Madness ended SDSU’s dreams, and there’s no more Malachi Flynn to rely on.
San Diego State is still the favorite to win this conference, but the MWC basketball odds allude to a couple of sincere chasers.
Here’s a Mountain West Conference basketball season preview for 2020-21.
MWC Basketball Tournament Odds
San Diego State+165
San Jose State+10000
Click to Open
I’m in alignment with the best college basketball betting sites. Boise State is always a tough out under Leon Rice, and the Aggies have two very formidable frontcourt players. Perhaps the Rebels can mount a charge if things line up, but under no circumstances will the MWC basketball winner come from outside of those four programs.
Ok, maybe the Rams can make some noise on the heels of Isaiah Stevens’ ascension. But that’s a big, big if.
Meet the Aztecs – Your Mountain West Conference Favorite
Malachi Flynn, the reigning MWC POY and DPOY, is now on the Toronto Raptors. Big-time contributors Yanni Wetzel and KJ Feagin will be sorely missed – especially on the defensive side of the floor.
However, before you assume that the squad on Montezuma Mesa is poised to regress, understand what they bring back.
Matt Mitchell is the consensus preseason Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. Trey Pulliam and Jordan Schakel are ultra-reliable guards – both entering their senior seasons. Nathan Mensah is a bonafide rim protector who should be back in the saddle after missing the bulk of last season dealing with a respiratory issue.
Now for the newcomers.
Incoming freshman Lamont Butler is a “microwave scorer” who broke Reggie Miller’s scoring record at Riverside Poly High School. Che Evans brings size and athleticism to the wing, and then there’s Terrell Gomez.
The stats back up all claims as Gomez led the country in free-throw % and ranked 8th from beyond the arc.
Forget about being the cream of the crop in a Mountain West Conference basketball season preview – the Aztecs are ready to make a deep run in March.
MWC Sleeper – Don’t Forget About UNLV
Despite enduring a rough patch early on, TJ Otzelberger was able to turn the tide in Vegas and guide the Rebels to a respectable 12-6 conference record. Lefty Bryce Hamilton is back and is widely regarded as one of the top players in the conference – a guy who can score in a variety of ways and drop 20 in the blink of an eye. As talented as Hamilton is, you can argue that South Dakota State transfer David Jenkins is even more electric.
Jenkins averaged 19.7 points as a sophomore with the Jackrabbits and shot over 45% from downtown. With Marvin Coleman chipping in, the guard play in Sin City could be enough to carry the Rebels to an MWC title.
Remember, the Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament takes place on UNLV’s home court.
Showcasing the Best Basketball Players in the MWC
Let’s round out this MWC basketball preview with a glance at the top three players in the conference. Consider these guys shoo-ins to be representatives of the Firs-Team All-Conference.
Matt Mitchell – San Diego State
The progressive transformation of Matt Mitchell’s body paid lots of dividends last season. Mitchell always possessed the physicality and strength to bully over guards. Now he’s too quick and too good of a shooter to be defended by any forwards.
There’s a taste of what Matt Mitchell is all about.
Derrick Alston Jr. – Boise State
From 0.6 ppg as a freshman to 13.4 ppg as a sophomore, it’s no surprise that Derrick Alston Jr. exploded during his junior season. Look for the leader of the Broncos’ high-powered offense to push 20 ppg in 2020-21.
At 6’9” with legitimate point guard skills, Alston is simply a matchup nightmare in the Mountain West Conference.
Neemias Queta – Utah State
As I touched on previously in this MWC basketball season preview, UNLV has a couple of gifted guards who are going to score a ton of points. Nevertheless, Utah State’s 7’0” center Neemias Queta is currently the top NBA prospect in the Mountain West.
Staying healthy and out of foul trouble are the keys for Queta as nobody in this conference has the means to confront him in the post.
As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.
Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.