March 4, 2001
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Mountain West Conference announced its 2001 Men's Basketball Championship bracket, with Utah earning the No. 1 seed in the tournament to be held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 8-10.
Utah, BYU and Wyoming tied for the regular season title with 10-4 conference records. The Utes, Cougars and Cowboys all split their season series, but Utah received the No. 1 seed after a tie-breaker involving UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels finished the season 16-13 overall and in fourth place in the MWC with a 7-7 record. UNLV was a factor in the final standings and seedings for the tournament, but is not eligible for the MWC Championship. The Utes swept the Runnin' Rebels this season, while BYU split its series and Wyoming was swept. BYU therefore will be the No. 2 seed, and Wyoming the third. New Mexico and Colorado State tied for fifth-place in the conference at 6-8. The Lobos win the tie breaker vs. the Rams since they swept them during the regular season claiming the No. 4 seed, followed by Colorado State (No. 5), San Diego State (No. 6), and Air Force (No. 7). This is the second consecutive season there has been a tie for the regular season crown. Last year, Utah and UNLV went 10-4 in league play. The Runnin' Rebels received the first seed in the tournament due to the tie breaker.
Utah captured the No. 1 seed after defeating New Mexico, 66-61, in Albuquerque and Wyoming losing at UNLV (106-102). The Utes will receive a first-round bye in the tournament and play the winner of the Colorado State vs. New Mexico game at 9 p.m. Friday, March 9 on ESPN. The Utes split with the Rams (65-73, 67-45) and swept the Lobos (80-69, 66-61) this season. Utah is 21-14 in 16 post-season conference tournament appearances and has won three (1995, 1997 and 1999) tournament titles. As the No. 2 seed in the inaugural MWC championship last year, the Utes defeated Air Force (74-65) before falling to BYU (58-54) in the second round.
BYU (21-8, 10-4) is 14-14 overall in conference tournaments and reached the championship of last year's MWC tournament before falling to UNLV, 79-56. The Cougars captured a share of the league title for the first time since 1992-93 when they went 15-3. BYU will face Air Force (8-20, 3-11) in a first round game on Thursday, March 8 beginning at 2:30 p.m. BYU swept the season series vs. Air Force (62-45, 51-50). The Falcons are making their 14th conference tournament appearance and are 4-14 all-time.
Wyoming (19-8, 10-4) secured a share of a conference title for the first timesince the 1985-86 season. The Cowboys will face No. 6 San Diego State (14-13,4-10) Thursday in the quarterfinals. Wyoming went 2-0 vs. the Aztecs(101-66, 69-62) this year. The Cowboys are 11-14 all-time in post-seasonconference tournaments, winning titles in 1987 and '88. San Diego State is10-12 in 13 tournament appearances and won a league crown in 1985. The WyomingCowboys and San Diego State Aztecs will be featured on ESPNRegional TV, Thursday, March 8, at 7:00 p.m., Mountain Time. In Wyoming,the game will be carried by ESPN Regional affiliates, KWYF-TV in Cheyenne,Wyo., and KLWY-TV in Casper, Wyo. ESPN does not give out satellitecoordinates.
No. 4-seed New Mexico (17-11, 6-8) plays No. 5-seed Colorado State (15-12, 6-8) in a quarterfinal game at 9 p.m. on ESPN. The Lobos swept the Rams during the regular season (72-71 OT, 54-51). New Mexico is making its 17th appearance in a conference tournament and is 22-15 overall. The Lobos won championships in 1993 and '96. Colorado State is also making its 17th post-season conference tournament appearance and is 8-17 overall.
Single session tickets for the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, March 5 at the Thomas & Mack box office. Lower level tickets are $25 per session and upper level tickets $19. Call (800) 464-2468 or (702) 895-3900 to order by phone.
2001 Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship Schedule
March 8-10 (Thursday-Saturday)Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
March 8 (Thursday)
Game 1 - No. 2 BYU vs. No. 7 Air Force 2:30 p.m. - ESPN Regional
Game 2 -No. 3 Wyoming vs. No. 6 San Diego State 6 p.m. - ESPN Regional
Game 3 - No. 4 New Mexico vs. No. 5 Colorado State 9 p.m. - ESPN
March 9 (Friday)
Game 5 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 6 p.m. - ESPN Regional
Game 6 - No. 1 Utah vs. Game 3 Winner 9 p.m. - ESPN
March 10 (Saturday)
Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner 7 p.m. - ESPN
All Times are Pacific