Colorado State Loss Tightens Mountain West Conference

By John Engel
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the season, Colorado State hovered behind Mountain West Conference No. 1 New Mexico with the second seed in the conference tournament being all but locked up. Now, with a loss to Boise State on the road, the Rams are tied for second place in the conference with UNLV.

Boise State has shown glimpses of a strong team all season long, but have struggled to find any real consistency. The Broncos depend mostly on streaky three-point shooting from a small set of four starting sophomores, making the match-up ideal for the visiting Rams. Colorado State ranks third in the nation in rebounding and their sheer size alone should have sealed a victory–and most likely the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.

With UNLV’s 80-63 win over Nevada, the Rebels have moved into a tied for No. 2 with Colorado State. Winning in Boise was crucial for the Rams at the tail end of 2012-13 conference play. Each team has two games remaining in the season and Colorado State will hope for Boise State to upset UNLV on the road to break up the tie in the standings. The Rams finish off with a road game against Wyoming, followed by a home match-up with Nevada.

The race for conference supremacy in the Mountain West is obviously over with No. 14 ranked New Mexico three games ahead of all other suitors. However, No. 2 is still very much up for grabs with the Broncos’ defeat of Colorado State. It should be noted that Boise State defeated the Rebels at home on Feb. 2.

Most people would assume that one difference in seeding wouldn’t have a substantial impact on a team in the Mountain West, but the contrary can be easily seen in the conference standings. The difference between the second or third seed can mean a match-up against Nevada versus a match-up against Wyoming. In the conference standings, only one game separates the No. 7 Cowboys from the No. 8 Wolfpack. In the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament, the No. 8 and No. 9 seed will play to determine the final competitor in the tournament. Fresno State currently ranks ninth (last) in the Mountain West.

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