Still recuperating from your midweek bar crawl? Are you nostril deep in term paper research? Have no fear, fellow bracketeers. As a companion to the Bracket Big Board, the I.D. is here to highlight all the college hardwood action from the week that was and preview the most pivotal matchups of the weekend. Unlike McLovin’s fake Hawaiian driver’s license, there’s nothing fake about this I.D. …
Groupthink is prevalent throughout college basketball. During the conference season, familiar schools quarrel like bratty brothers, but once teams enter the penultimate frame, friendly, almost loving attitudes take hold. For most, league affiliation runs very deep. Marquette backers bark for Hoyas. Oregon supporters cheer UCLA. And Ohio State zealots root on Michi … Ok, maybe not entirely.
From division-to-division loyalties vary, but for those faithful to the Mountain West they are imprinted on the DNA.
Any outsider who ventures into The Pit, Moby or Aztec Bowl is not only enveloped by the warmth for local teams, but for the league as a whole. Often overshadowed by the Pac-12 and biases toward powerhouses east of the Mississippi, MWC fanciers feel they’re working toward a common cause – to gain the national respect the league rightfully deserves.
Only in existence since 2000, the little redheaded stepchild of the West is experiencing unprecedented success. Second only to the Big Ten in terms of RPI strength and with five representatives projected in the latest incarnation of the Bracket Big Board, four of which with an 8-seed or better, the MWC is holding its own against traditional giants. Still, skeptics question whether or not the league possesses a legitimate Final Four contender, which is warranted. Despite garnering several attractive seeds over the years, it’s compiled an uneventful 11-23 (32.4 win-percentage) record in Round 1 games. More disappointing, of those 34 appearances, none have extended beyond the Sweet Sixteen, though BYU and San Diego State reached the second weekend in 2011. Last year, however, among the conference’s five bids, only New Mexico survived the opening round.
The Mountain West’s unexciting history begs the obligatory question, ‘Will this be the year?’ In short, my odds of sealing the deal with Kate Upton may be better.
Essentially, the league is comprised of a handful of good, but not great teams. However, as brackteers know, any squad is one torrid shooting exhibition away from silencing even the harshest critics. Draw and execution will ultimately determine its fate.