For the second straight year a league record-tying six Mountain West teams have received postseason bids. Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV earned their way into the NCAA tournament, while TCU and Wyoming are headed to the College Basketball Invitational.
The Mountain West is one of four conferences (Big 12, Big Ten, Big East) to have at least 50 percent of its membership included in the 2012 NCAA tournament, and one of seven with four or more teams.
Four Mountain West teams also participated in the 2010 NCAA tournament. The Mountain West has sent at least three teams to the NCAA tournament for three straight years and six times overall in the league's 13-year history.
The Mountain West is one of six conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, SEC) to send at least three teams to the NCAA tournament three straight years, as well as two teams in each of the last 11 years.
This season is the 11th straight year, and 12th overall, the Mountain West had at least one at-large qualifier on Selection Sunday. The only year in which the MW had a lone representative in the Big Dance was in 2000-01.
In 13 years, the Mountain West has received 33 NCAA bids, including 21 at-large berths.
From 2007-12, 15 of 17 Mountain West representatives in the NCAA tournament have received a single-digit seed.
Mountain West teams have compiled a 13-15 record as single-digit seeds in the NCAA tournament.
The Mountain West is currently ranked No. 5 in the conference RPI, ahead of the ACC, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, Conference USA and Pac-12. That matches the league's highest ranking in its 13-year history. Overall, the Mountain West has ranked in the top 10 of the RPI in 12 of 13 seasons.
Four Mountain West teams are ranked in the top-30 of the Mar. 12 NCAA RPI report. UNLV leads the league at No. 18, followed by San Diego State at No. 26, New Mexico at No. 27 and Colorado State at No. 29.
The Mountain West is one of three conferences to have at least four teams in
the top-30 of the RPI, trailing only the Big Ten, who has five teams, and tying
with the Big East.
Overall, no Mountain West team is ranked lower than 173 in the RPI. The Mountain West and Big Ten are the only two conferences to have each of its teams ranked 173 or better in the RPI.
Colorado State and UNLV both finished the 2011-12 season undefeated at home in Mountain West play (7-0).
New Mexico and San Diego State are the only teams that finished MW play with winning road records (4-3) in 2011-12.
The 2011-12 season marks the third straight year the Mountain West has had three different teams ranked in the top-25 polls at the same time at some point during the season.
The Mountain West is one of six conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, C-USA, SEC) to have at least four teams with 20 or more wins each of the last six seasons (2006-07 to 2011-12).
In the league's 13-year history, all 43 teams with 20 or more wins prior to Selection Sunday have been invited to the postseason. Including this year, the Mountain West has received 62 postseason bids since its inception in 1999-00.
For the 13th consecutive year, more than one million fans have come through Mountain West turnstiles. Heading into postseason play, the combined attendance at the eight MW home arenas has reached 1,067,862, putting the league on pace for its 13th straight season of ranking in the top-7 nationally.
New Mexico (27-6) shared the Mountain West regular-season crown with San Diego State and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament after capturing the MW tournament crown with a 68-59 victory over the Aztecs last Saturday. The Lobos, who earned a No. 5 seed in the West Regional, will take on No. 12 seed and Big West champion Long Beach State (25-8) on Thursday, March 15 at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore. This marks the Lobos' second NCAA tournament appearance in three years and 31st overall. New Mexico is 3-2 all-time against Long Beach State. The Lobos won the most recent meeting, a 92-88 overtime decision on Nov. 29, 1986 in Kahalui, Maui.
Number 6 seed San Diego State (26-7) shared the Mountain West regular-season crown with New Mexico and earned its first-ever NCAA at-large selection following a runner-up finish at the MW tournament. The Aztecs will square off against No. 11 seed North Carolina State (22-12) on Friday, March 16 in the Midwest Regional at Nationwide Center in Columbus, Ohio. San Diego State is making its third straight appearance, and eighth overall, in the NCAA tournament, including last year's Sweet 16 run. This will be the Aztecs' first meeting with NC State.
UNLV (26-8) garnered its ninth at-large bid in program history after capturing a No. 6 seed in the South Regional. The Runnin' Rebels will travel to The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., and will face No. 11 seed and Pac-12 tournament champion Colorado (23-11) in the second round on Thursday, March 15. UNLV will be making its fifth NCAA tournament appearance in six years, including a Sweet 16 run in 2007. Making their 19th NCAA tournament trip overall, the Rebels hold a 33-17 record in NCAA tournament games, ranking 10th nationally with a .660 win percentage. UNLV is 4-1 all-time against Colorado. The two teams have not met since Dec. 22, 1981 when CU defeated UNLV,
65-59, in Las Vegas. Prior to that, the Rebels had won four straight meetings between 1973 and 1976.
Colorado State (20-11) earned a No. 11 seed in the West Regional and will face No. 6 seed Murray State (30-1) in second-round play on Thursday, March 15 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. The Rams, who earned an at-large bid for the first time since 1990, will be making their ninth trip to the NCAA tournament and first since 2003 when they earned the league's automatic bid. Colorado State, making its third straight postseason appearance, will be squaring off against Murray State for the first time.
TCU (17-14) qualified for the postseason for the first time since advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2005 NIT. The Horned Frogs received a bid to the College Basketball Invitational and will host Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday, March 13. This marks TCU's first meeting with UWM.
Wyoming (20-11) also garnered a berth in the College Basketball Invitational and will host North Dakota State on Wednesday, March 14. The Cowboys are making their second appearance in the CBI after hosting Northeastern in 2009. This is Wyoming's 24th trip to a postseason tournament overall, having also participated in 14 NCAA tournaments and eight NITs. The Pokes are 2-0 all-time against North Dakota State, with their most recent win (97-63) coming on Dec. 20, 1965 in Laramie.
In 2011-12, the Mountain West is 11-3 against the Pac-12, with the MW's top three teams (New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV) combining for an 8-0 mark. Over the last three seasons, the MW owns a mark of 20-12 against the Pac-12. During that three-year span, the MW has not only left the Pac-12 in its wake, it has also gone 28-8 against the Western Athletic Conference; 19-7 vs. the West Coast Conference; 20-4 against the Big West Conference; and 25-7 vs. teams from the Big Sky Conference.
New Mexico's run to the MW tournament crown last week catapulted the Lobos back into the top-25 rankings. The Lobos are listed at No. 21 by the Associated Press and No. 22 in the US A Today/ESPN Coaches' poll. In addition, UNLV and San Diego State remained ranked in both top-25 polls for the 13th consecutive week. The Aztecs moved ahead of the Runnin' Rebels, coming in at No. 22 and No. 23 in the AP and Coaches' polls, respectively. UNLV is slotted at No. 23 in the AP rankings and No. 25 in the Coaches.
Fans from around the Mountain West can have their men's basketball questions answered by MW Senior Writer Mick McGrane in McGrane's Mailbag. Questions can be submitted several ways - by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), through Twitter (@MWCMick), or by comment on McGrane's Take, the MW official blog on TheMWC.com