Mountain West Tournament Predictions: Who will win it all?

Corissa Campbell | The Arbiter

March is here and the madness is just beginning. 

Boise State will be going to Las Vegas, Nevada in hopes of clinching the Mountain West Conference (MWC) Title. However, after one of the most exciting years for the Mountain West men’s basketball conference, there seems to be a multitude of favorites entering the highly coveted tournament. 

Some of the hottest teams in the country are a part of the MWC, making the intensity and anticipation for this year undoubtedly the highest it has been in years. 

In every conference tournament, there is always the chance of punching your surefire ticket into the NCAA Tournament, better known as March Madness. 

Despite Boise State’s growing popularity in men’s basketball, the team has only won one conference championship in 2022. In recent years, San Diego State University (SDSU) and Utah State University have been incredibly dominant forces in the Mountain West Tournament and things have yet to change for this season as well. 

With Utah State winning the regular season Mountain West Title after defeating University of New Mexico (UNM), the Aggies seem to be on a roll at the best time possible heading into the tournament. 


One of the clear favorites for the MWC Championship is Utah State, understandably so. After clinching their first outright MWC Title in school history, this team is as hot as ever. 

However, teams that come into the tournament with a hot start, doesn’t always equate to a dominant tournament run.

If Utah State is unable to keep up their dominant playmaking, SDSU looks to be another tournament favorite. 

Despite finishing fifth in the regular season standings, SDSU is in one of the best positions to turn up the heat. Given the program’s history — it lost in the national championship game to University of Connecticut last season — it isn’t surprising to see this respect. But, the Aztecs hardly enter the conference tournament in peak form.

Dropping their last game of the season at home to the Broncos, the Aztecs are nowhere near their ‘A-Game’. 

The Aztecs’ big issue is their offense. SDSU averaged just 108.1 points per 100 possessions in conference play. They were the worst 3-point shooting team in the league (30.4%). The team’s best shooters — Jaedon LeDee and Reese Waters — shot under 37% from beyond the arc. SDSU also fails to pressure the rim consistently. The team takes just 33.4% of their attempts at the rim and shoots just 62.3% on those shots.

Make no mistake, the Aztecs are a dominant defensive team. They led the Mountain West in adjusted defensive efficiency (98.1). Opponents turned the ball over on 18.5% of their possessions against them, shot just 48.1% inside the line and 31.6% from deep. 

That defense is going to give SDSU a chance to win a game against nearly any opponent, but their struggles on offense will make them a vulnerable favorite.


Due to the competitive nature that the MWC has seen this last season, there is no true darkhorse to win the Mountain West, mainly because there are six other teams outside of SDSU and USU that make a strong case to win this tournament.

If there was a dark horse, it would be UNLV and University of Nevada, Reno. 

The Runnin’ Rebels come into this tournament — which is played in its home arena — in great form. 

After rounding out their season on a 5-1 run, they are coming into the tournament hot. Not only that, but UNLV has the ninth-best defensive rating in the country over its last 10 games.

The truest of dark horses will be Nevada. Despite starting conference play with a 3-4 record, the Wolf Pack has been on an upward spiral to dominance. Recently ranked No. 23 in the AP Poll, the Wolf Pack has a solid well rounded team that can make a strong case for a dark horse. 


SDSU forward Jaedon LeDee is going to have all the attention during this tournament.

LeDee exploded this season for the Aztecs, starting all 30 games he appeared in and averaging a conference-best 20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds on 55.7% shooting from the floor. His spectacular performance earned him MWC Player of the year. 

LeDee will not only be an exciting player to watch for, but one of the biggest determiners on how the Aztec squad will finish. How LeDee does, SDSU will surely follow. 

The Mountain West is also engulfed in great guard play as well.

Isaiah Stevens, fifth-year senior guard for Colorado State University, is a deadly, knockdown shooter. Averaging 16.8 points and 7.0 assists per game while going 45.7% of his 4.2 3-point attempts per game this season, Stevens can be a real game changer for any matchup. When Stevens is hot from downtown, there is no stopping this Colorado State team.

New Mexico guard Jaelen House is another spectacular guard to watch for. Not only is he dynamic on the floor, he is  one of the fiercest competitors in the MWC. House is an electric player both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, making New Mexico a scary competitor.

House’s resume speaks for itself. He became the first Lobo in history, and just the third player in Mountain West history to have consecutive seasons with at least 500 points and 125 assists while also contributing on the defensive end setting the UNM single-season record with 86 steals in 2022-23, ranking second nationally at 2.69 spg. 


With a No. 3 seed in the tournament, the Broncos are in good position to make a run at a tournament they have only won once. 

Granted, the Broncos would have benefited heavily off of a higher seed in the tournament, but the Broncos are coming off an incredible win against SDSU that could surely fill the squad with tremendous momentum. 

In order for the Broncos to make a run in the MWC Tournament, the team will need to be firing on all cylinders. There is not much room for error, especially in such a competitive conference. 

The Bronco defense will have to be locked in, which does not seem to be an issue with the inclusion of second team MWC O’Mar Stanley. The pace of play will also be a monstrous aspect. MWC teams have been playing with much tenacity and speed, and in order to keep up, the Broncos and guard Roddie Anderson III will have to adjust accordingly. 

If Bronco forward Chibuzo Agbo can get hot from deep, as he so easily does, the Broncos are going to be a lethal team to defeat. 

The first matchup for the Broncos will be against the winner of the Air Force and UNLV game on Mar. 14 at 8:30 pm. 

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