Mountain West Tournament 2014: Bracket, TV Schedule, Dates and Predictions

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMarch 9, 2014

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 19:  Cameron Bairstow #41 of the New Mexico Lobos drives against Roscoe Smith #1 (L) and Christian Wood #5 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center on February 19, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. New Mexico won 68-56.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas is the site of the 2014 Mountain West tournament. The 11 teams in the conference will battle for the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The top two teams in the tournament are already locks for at-large bids.

The No. 10 ranked San Diego State Aztecs, the No. 21 ranked New Mexico Lobos and UNLV Running Rebels are in no matter how they perform in the tournament. 

Others will probably need a win or two to punch their ticket to the Big Dance. Below is a look at the TV schedule and dates. Here's a link to the still forming bracket and the matchups:

 

When: March 12-15

Where: Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas

TV: CBSSportsNetwork and CBS

Live Stream: Mountain West Network

 

Wed., Mar. 12MW Men's Basketball First Round5 p.m. ESTMWN
Wed., Mar. 12MW Men's Basketball First Round7:30 p.m. ESTMWN
Wed., Mar. 12MW Men's Basketball First Round10 p.m. ESTMWN
Thu, Mar. 13MW Men's Basketball Quarterfinal #13 p.m. ESTCBSSN
Thu, Mar. 13MW Men's Basketball Quarterfinal #25:30 p.m. ESTCBSSN
Thu, Mar. 13MW Men's Basketball Quarterfinal #39 p.m. ESTCBSSN
Thu, Mar. 13MW Men's Basketball Quarterfinal #411:30 p.m. ESTCBSSN
Fri., Mar. 14MW Men's Basketball Semifinal #19 p.m. ESTCBSSN
Fri., Mar. 14MW Men's Basketball Semifinal #211:30 p.m. ESTCBSSN
Sat., Mar. 15MW Men's Basketball Championship6 p.m. ESTCBS

 

The Favorites

The regular-season finale on Saturday night might have been a preview of the conference tournament final. San Diego State came storming back from a 16-point halftime deficit to win a nail-biter at home, 51-48.

Things could change at a neutral site, but the Aztecs have to be even more confident heading into the tournament after nailing down the regular-season crown and the top seed.

New Mexico had taken the initial meeting 58-44 at University Arena. The Pit is a notoriously difficult place for opponents to win. The team has only fallen twice at home all season.

The Aztecs needed this head-to-head win to validate any thoughts that they are the best team in the conference. When the MWC tournament begins, they will have another chance to prove it.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Head coach Steve Fisher of the San Diego State Aztecs stands on the court before his team's game against the UNLV Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. San Diego State won 73-64.  (Photo by Et
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Per Ben Estes of The Sporting News, the Aztecs have an opportunity to do what no other team in program history has done.

In the midst of the best stretch in SDSU history, made possible by the best coach in SDSU history, the only remaining question is whether these Aztecs can better the best finish in SDSU history and advance past the Sweet 16, a round to which the 2010-11 team, and only that team, advanced.

Legendary head coach Steve Fisher has done wonders since taking on the job with San Diego State. He has a record of 307-174 with the university.

The Lobos' Big Three of Cameron Bairstow, Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk may bounce back but for now San Diego State is the team to beat.

 

The Bubble Team

Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

The Boise State Broncos still have some work to do. At 19-12 overall and 9-9 in the conference, the team's resume is almost good enough to grab an at-large bid. The Broncos lost their last two games and three of its last four.

This isn't the way head coach Leon Rice wanted his seniors' collegiate career to end. Rice talks about the guys who will be moving on soon in the interview below from The Idaho Statesman:

After ending the regular season with two-straight losses, the Broncos need at least two wins in the tournament to get off the bubble.

If they disappoint, they will have to settle for the NIT. 

 

Prediction

After losing the regular season finale, it might seem as though the Lobos' aren't in position to win the conference tournament. However, the Aztecs' biggest weakness is its inability to make free throws.

San Diego State only makes 65 percent of its free throws as a team. That flaw will cost them in the conference tournament as well as the Big Dance.

New Mexico will take the rubber game from the Aztecs in the final.

 

Statistics per Sports Reference

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