NCAAB 2020 Mountain West Conference Expert Analysis

NCAAB 2020 Mountain West Conference Expert Analysis

Written by on November 9, 2020

Okay MyBookie college basketball betting nation, with the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season just about a month away, now is a great time to preview what could lie ahead in the Mountain West Conference this coming campaign. Can the now, perennially-powerful San Diego State Aztecs repeat as ‘unofficial’ conference champs after claiming a share of last year’s title? Could two-time co-conference champs, Utah State challenge or will three-time champion Nevada (2017-2019), get back on top after coming up a bit short last season? Let’s find out what the 2020-21 campaign could hold right now so you can get ready and make your bets against our College Basketball odds.

2020-21 Mountain West Conference Hoops Preview

San Diego State

  • Key Returners: Matt Mitchell, Jordan Schakel, Nathan Mensah (injury), Trey Pulliam
  • Key Losses: Malachi Flynn (pro), Yanni Wetzell, KJ Feagin
  • Key Newcomers: Terrell Gomez (CSUN), Che Evans, Lamont Butler, Keith Dinwiddie Jr.

MWC Player of the Year Malachi Flynn is gone, but the Aztecs went a phenomenal 28-1 overall and 17-1 in conference play last season and still have plenty of talent on their roster. More importantly, San Diego State will be elite again defensively after finishing last season ranked a stellar third in points allowed (59.2 ppg).

Utah State

  • Key Returners: Neemias Queta, Justin Bean, Brock Miller, Alphonso Anderson, Kuba Karwowski, Sean Bairstow
  • Key Losses: Sam Merrill, Diogo Brito, Abel Porter (grad transfer)
  • Key Newcomers: Marco Anthony (Virginia), Steven Ashworth, Zakhar Vedischev, Max Shulga, Szymon Zapala, Rollie Worster

The Aggies went 23-8 overall and 12-6 in conference play, but could have problems with depth in the backcourt after going 23-8 a year ago. The only true point guard on the roster is Steven Ashworth, who joins the team after a two-year LDS mission.

Colorado State

  • Key Returners: Isaiah Stevens, David Roddy, Kendle Moore, Adam Thistlewood, Dischon Thomas, John Tonje, P.J. Byrd
  • Key Losses: Nico Carvacho, Kris Martin, Hyron Edwards
  • Key Newcomers: Ignas Sargiunas (Georgia), Isaiah Rivera, Jacob Jennisen

The Rams went an encouraging 20-7 overall and 11-7 in conference play last season to finish fifth in the Mountain West conference. The good news is that, after playing Colorado State will be far more experienced after playing four true freshmen a ton of minutes a year ago.

Boise State

  • Key Returners: Derrick Alston, Abu Kigab, Rayj Dennis
  • Key Losses: Justinian Jessup, Roderick Williams, Alex Hobbs, Robin Jorch
  • Key Newcomers: Emmanuel Akot (Arizona), Marcus Shaver (Portland), Devonaire Doutrive (Arizona), Mladen Armus (ETSU), Naje Smith (JUCO), Lukas Milner (NJCAA), Kasean Pryor, Pavle Kuzmanovic

The Broncos went 19-11 overall and 11-7 in conference play to finish sixth in the MWC standings last season, but have a handful of highly touted transfer players coming into the program, starting with Portland transfer Marcus Shaver and Arizona transfer Devonaire Doutrive.

UNLV

  • Key Returners: Bryce Hamilton, Cheikh Mbacke Diong, Marvin Coleman
  • Key Losses: Amauri Hardy (transfer), Donnie Tillman (transfer), Elijah Mitrou-Long, Nick Blair
  • Key Newcomers: David Jenkins (South Dakota State), Moses Wood (Tulane), Caleb Grill (Iowa St.), Nick Blake, Jhaylon Martinez, Edoardo Del Cadia (JUCO), Nick Fleming (JUCO), Isaac Lindsey, Donovan Yap

The Runnin’ Rebels went 17-14 overall and 12-6 in conference play in TJ Otzelberger’s first year last season, but UNLV has a quartet of transfer players coming in that should help the program get back to being a legitimate conference title contender.

Nevada

  • Key Returners: Zane Meeks, Robby Robinon, K.J. Hymes
  • Key Losses: Jalen Harris (pro), Jazz Johnson, Lindsey Drew, Nisre Zouzoua, Johncarlos Reyes
  • Key Newcomers: Desmond Cambridge (Brown), Grant Sherfield (Wichita St.), Warren Washington (Oregon St.), Tre Coleman, Daniel Foster, DeAndre Henry, Alem Huseinovic

Nevada went 19-11 overall and 12-6 in conference play, but saw its best player in Jalen Harris bolt for the greener pastures of the NBA draft. While the Wolf Pack are seriously inexperienced in the backcourt, they do have three experienced players joining the program in Desmond Cambridge (Brown), Grant Sherfield (Wichita St.), Warren Washington (Oregon St.).

Fresno State

  • Key Returners: Orlando Robinson, Anthony Holland, Jordan Campbell
  • Key Losses: Nate Grimes, New Williams, Jarred Hyder (transfer), Niven Hart (pro), Noah Blackwell, Aguir Agau (transfer)
  • Key Newcomers: Devin Gage (DePaul), Braxton Meah, Leonardo Colimerio, Kyle Harding (JUCO), Destin Whitaker, Deon Stroud (UTEP, Isaiah Hill (Tulsa), Junior Ballard (Cal Poly)

The Bulldogs went 11-18 last season, but had an injury-riddled campaign that saw head coach Justin Houston have to use a mind-boggling nine different starting lineups in their first 15 games. Fresno State will be hoping for big things from Oregon transfer Jordan Campbell, but this is a team that has a long way to go to challenge for a conference crown at some point in the near future.

New Mexico

  • Key Returners: Makuach Maluach, Keith McGee, Kurt Wegscheider
  • Key Losses: JaQuan Lyle, Corey Manigault, Vance Jackson (grad transfer), Zane Martin (grad transfer)
  • Key Newcomers: Jeremiah Francis (UNC), Valdir Manuel (JUCO), Saquan Singleton (JUCO), Rodgerick Brown (JUCO), Javonte Johnson, Bayron Matos, Assane Ndiaye (JUCO), Nolan Dorsey, Isaiah Marin

The Lobos started out 15-3 overall and 4-1 in the Mountain West – before everything came crashing down en route to a 18-13 overall mark and 7-11 mark in conference play. More importantly, head coach Paul Weir needs to do a better job of controlling a lock room that has several reported incidents of players not being able to get along. Five transfers could help with that transition with the key word being ‘could’.

Wyoming

  • Key Returners: Hunter Maldonado, Hunter Thompson, Kwane Marble II, Kenny Foster
  • Key Losses: Jake Hendricks, AJ Banks, Trevon Taylor (transfer)
  • Key Newcomers: Marcus Williams, Drake Jeffries (JUCO), Drew LaMont (JUCO), Xavier DuSell, Jeremiah Oden, Eoin Nelson (JUCO)

The Cowboys will be headed in a new direction under first-year head coach Jeff Linder, but he inherits a team that went an abysmal 7-23 overall and 2-16 in conference play to finish dead last in the Mountain West a year ago. The former Northern Colorado coach will look to have his new team shoot a bunch of threes, but at this point, there are far more question marks than concrete answers in Wyoming.

Air Force

  • Key Returners: AJ Walker, Christopher Joyce, Keaton Van Soelen, Ameka Akaya, Mason Taylor, Carter Murphy, Abe Kinrade
  • Key Losses: Lavelle Scottie, Ryan Swan, Sid Tomes, Caleb Morris
  • Key Newcomers: N/A

Head coach Joe Scott returns to Air Force 15 years after he left to take over at Princeton, but he inherits a team that went 11-19 overall and 5-13 in conference play. Scott will look to shore up a defense that gave up buckets galore last season, but Air Force doesn’t have a lot of height and that could be troublesome at some point this coming season.

San Jose State

  • Key Returners: Seneca Knight, Richard Washington, Omari Moore, Ralph Agee, Sam Japhet-Mathias
  • Key Losses: Brae Ivey, Christian Anigwe (transfer), Zach Chappell (transfer)
  • Key Newcomers: Jalen Dalcourt (JUCO), Sebastian Mendoza, Chase Courtney, Hugo Clarkin, Nate Lacewell, Michael Ofoegbu Jr.

San Jose State went a pitiful 7-23 overall and 2-16 in conference play last season, but the Spartans have a pair of gifted performers in 6’6″ wings Seneca Knight and Richard Washington. Still, this is a team that needs a bunch more talent in order just to become competent if you ask me.

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