Some Notes from the Mountain West & WAC Tourneys

Posted by rtmsf on March 12th, 2010

In our attempt to bring you the most comprehensive Championship Week coverage anywhere, RTC is covering several of the conference tournaments from the sites. We have RTC correspondents Andrew Murawa at the Mountain West Tournament and Kraig Williams at the WAC Tournament this weekend.  In addition to live-blogging select games throughout the tournament, they will both post a nightly diary with thoughts on each day’s action. Here are the submissions for last night’s games.

Mountain West Tournament Quarters

  • After a long day and a drive from Los Angeles, I got into the Thomas & Mack Center to see TCU down only four to BYU just about halfway through the second half. Just a couple of minutes later, the Cougars had extended the lead to double figures and the only intrigue left was how much Jimmer Fredette would score. TCU threw everything they had at him, including sophomore point guard Ronnie Moss just wrapping his arms around Fredette’s waist at times, but it was no use. Fredette did it every way: deep threes, pull-up jumpers, taking it to the hole and, of course, hitting 23 of his whopping 24 free throw attempts on his way to 45 points (a MWC Tournament record), including 30 in the second half. And, if that weren’t enough, he added six assists as well.
  • Inside of a minute into the UNLV/Utah game, it was obvious it was going to be a physical game. Both teams tried to exploit the other teams inside, and Utah did so to the tune of 36 free throw attempts (of which they made 31). But if the Utes weren’t getting to the line, they were building a chimney; they made just 13 of their 40 field goal attempts, mostly because UNLV defenders were in their faces constantly.
  • It’s been said before I’m sure, so you won’t mind if I say it again: UNLV getting to play this tournament on their home court every year is a huge advantage. While there were pockets of Utah fans, this was little different than a UNLV home game.
  • After the Utes got three unanswered threes (by Marshall Henderson, Luka Drca and Chris Hines) wrapped around a David Foster rejection to cut what was a 13-point Rebel lead to just four at the half, the start of the second half was electric in the arena. But an early 12-3 run by the Rebels broke things back open and the rest of the half was the Runnin’ Rebels living up to their nickname.

WAC Tournament Quarters

(1) Utah State 84, (8) Boise State 60

  • If Utah State has a weakness it’s against pressure defenses. Boise State was able to hang in the game at halftime trailing by just five by turning the Aggies over and getting easy baskets in transition.
  • If you’ve followed WAC basketball at all this season you may wonder why Utah State’s Brian Green hits his elbow and points to the sky after every game. The answer? “These are my guns, I just reload them.” Green unloaded for 18 against Boise State, which was tied for the game high with both Tai Wesley and Pooh Williams.
  • Boise State fans don’t really like Greg Graham. Will he be joining Hawaii’s Bobby Nash in the WAC coaches unemployment line?

(4) Louisiana Tech 74, (5) Fresno State 66

  • Jamel Guyton is pretty good. He had 31 points and 11 rebounds for Tech, and was a much needed source of offense when the team was struggling.
  • Kyle Gibson is still not right. He went 1-5 from the floor and finished with just 7 points. If you had asked me midseason he would have been my WAC POY, but with his ankle hurting he hasn’t been the same player, and the Bulldogs haven’t been the same team either. They will need another huge effort from Guyton to keep up with Utah State.
  • Paul George announced he’s going pro via his twitter feed. If George does in fact go pro then Fresno will be back in rebuilding mode again next year.

(2) Nevada 87, (7) Idaho 71

  • Luke Babbitt is one of the most consistent players in the nation. Nothing spectacular, he just goes out and gets his 20 points and doesn’t even crack a smile.
  • When Nevada gets a balanced effort from role players like Brandon Fields and Joey Shaw then they are going to be tough to beat. If I’m a coach scheming against them, I’d take everyone else away and let Babbitt get his.
  • Idaho is back to being … well, Idaho. Idaho had a senior-laden team and didn’t really make anything out of it this season, topped off by having a player call out the coach on twitter. Coach Don Verlin can succeed in Moscow, but it’s going to take a few years of his recruits to get the ship fully turned around.

(3) New Mexico State 90, (6) San Jose State 69

  • When New Mexico State commits itself to defense they can be a terror. They finished with six steals and many easy buckets based on solid defense.
  • San Jose State’s four-guard lineup was a fun little quirk early in the season and seemed like it could make them dangerous, but instead it just made them small and easily overpowered.
  • Chalk reigned supreme in Reno on Thursday with all four top seeds advancing. Will make for a fantastic Friday night in Reno.
rtmsf (3998 Posts)

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