In this article we look back on the historic Mountain West Conference season.First we must look at the predictions that many Aztec fans had at the begging of the season including many of the same predictions our writers made. We first polled everyone back in August on who would win the Mountain West Conference in 2013 and winner of the poll was San Diego State. The conference runner-up was New Mexico followed by UNLV, Colorado State, Boise State, Wyoming and Nevada.
The Mountain West Conference turned out to be a highly competitive league as we had predicted. The prediction was three teams could win 25 games or more and five teams would win 20 or more games. The Actual season outcome was three teams would win 25 games or more (New Mexico 29, Colorado State 26 and UNLV 25) and six teams would win 20 or more games (the three teams mentioned above UNM, CSU,UNLV, San Diego State 23, Boise State 21 and Wyoming 20). We predicted at the beginning of the season that four teams would easily make the NCAA Tournament (San Diego State, New Mexico, UNLV and Colorado State). The Mountain West Conference in reality had five team’s make the NCAA Tournament in addition to the four teams named above, Boise State was the Mountain West’s fifth team. The Mountain West Conference would end the season as the nation’s number one RPI (Strength of Schedule) league for the first time in Mountain West Conference history. This would also be the first time in Mountain West Conference History that the league has sent five teams to the NCAA Tournament.
If you look at the overall record of the Mountain West Conference this year you will see a record of 185 wins and 113 losses. Looking at those stats it’s really hard to believe that the Mountain West Conference was the best conference in the country this season. Looking more closely at the five NCAA Tournament teams from the Mountain West Conference this season we learn who won the majority of the leagues games. The top five Mountain West Conference teams had a combined record of 124 wins and 47 losses overall. The top five teams combined for a non conference record of 72 wins and 24 losses. These are some notable non-conference wins the top five MWC teams had; UNM over (#21) UConn, UNM over (#8) Cincinnati, UNLV over Iowa State, SDSU over UCLA and Boise State over (#11) Creighton. The bottom dwellers of the Mountain West Conference combined for 61 wins and 66 losses during non conference play.
Coming out of the starting gate one Mountain West Conference team was all over the national media spot light, Wyoming. The Wyoming Cowboys started the season strong with a 13 game winning streak including an impressive win over No. 19 Colorado. The Wyoming Cowboys strong start would come to a crashing end at the beginning of Mountain West Conference play as they would finish the Mountain West Season with a record of 4 and 12. They would end the non-conference season with a record of 15 and 1. The hottest team in the Mountain West Conference play was the New Mexico Lobos easily running away with the Mountain West Conference regular season title. The worst lost for the Lobos during the shot clock era came at San Diego State as the Lobos were only able to score 38 points. When looking at the worst San Diego State loss in recent history the Aztecs only scored nine points in the first half of the game against the Wyoming Cowboy in Laramie.
As everyone who watches Mountain West Conference basketball knows it is impossible to win on the road. The original prediction for the season was win 100 percent of your home games and win at least half of your road games. Below is a chart that we have created showing the records of all Mountain West Conference teams when playing at home or when being the home team. The record is very impressive win percentage of 78.5 percent (142 wins and 39 losses). The Mountain West Conference had the best home winning record of any conference in 2013.
|San Diego St.||20||3||20-3|
The Mountain West Conference regular season champions would be New Mexico who would also win the Mountain West Conference Tournament over UNLV at the Thomas and Mack Center. The player of the year award for the Mountain West Conference this season was awarded to the New Mexico Lobos Kendall Williams who averaged 13.3 points and 3,5 rebounds this season. The only reason Williams won the award was because his team won the league and because of his 46 point game against Colorado State. Many people argued that Williams should not have been the player of the year because many other athletes have better stats and he was shut down in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
Runners up for the 2013 Mountain West Conference POY award were SDSU’s Jamaal Franklin and UNLV’s Anthony Bennett. Jamaal Franklin the 2012 Mountain West Conference POY ended the season with 16.7 points per-game and 9.5 rebounds per-game. He was the only player in the nation this year to lead his team in points, rebounds, steals and assists. Anthony Bennett ended the season with 16.1 points per-game and 8.1 rebounds per-game. Bennett would be awarded the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the year award and has announced that we will be participating in the NBA Draft the spring.
The Mountain West Conference would have a horrible showing at the NCAA Tournament becoming the first league in tournament history to have the best RPI ranking in the regular season and have no teams advance to the sweet-sixteen. The gem of the Mountain West Conference New Mexico a team who many had picked to be a contender for the elite eight would lose its first round game to Havard. UNLV would be upset by CAL a team they had beaten earlier in the season (first time in NCAA Tournament history that teams have met in the regular season). Boise State would lose to one of the Cinderella teams of the tournament La Salle in the first round. Leaving Colorado State and San Diego State as the lone wolves from the Mountain West left in tournament play. Colorado State would begin by winning their first NCAA Tournament game in a long time with a commanding performance over Missouri. San Diego State would win just the third NCAA Tournament game in school history with the win over Oklahoma. Colorado State would be blown out of the tournament by a team in Louisville who many have picked to win the tournament. The San Diego State Aztecs had a major chance to advance to the sweet-sixteen by beating a Cinderella team in Florida Gulf Coast and we all know how that went. San Diego State would go down swinging to the team from “Dunk City” Florida. The Mountain West had finally been Eliminated from March Madness.
National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) 2013 Division I All-District
If you would like to read about all of the other athletes who have been named to the NABC All-District Teams please (click here).
Jamaal Franklin San Diego State
Colton Iverson Colorado State
Michael Lyons Air Force
Anthony Bennett UNLV
Kendall Williams New Mexico
Chase Tapley San Diego State
Leonard Washington Wyoming
Tony Snell New Mexico
Anthony Marshall UNLV
Pierce Hornung Colorado State
United States Basketball Writers Associateion (USBWA) District VIII
Coach of the Year
Steve Alford, New Mexico
Michael Lyons-Air Force
Colton Iverson-Colorado State
Alex Kirk-New Mexico
Kendall Williams-New Mexico
The following articles articles are part of this series looking back on the 2013 season.
SDSU Basketball: Looking back on the 2013 season part one (introduction).
SDSU Basketball: Looking back on the 2013 season part two (Memories).
SDSU Basketball: Looking back on the 2013 MWC season (Season Recap).
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