March 5, 2005
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -
The Mountain West Conference announced the bracket for its 2005 Men's Basketball Championship to be held March 10-12 at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo. Regular season champion Utah will enter the MWC Championship as the No. 1 seed for the third time in the last five years.
No. 4 seed UNLV (15-12, 7-7) faces No. 5 seed Wyoming (15-12, 7-7) at 2:30 p.m. MT Thursday (ESPN+Plus), marking the first meeting between the teams in MWC Tournament play since the league's inaugural year when the Rebels posted a 97-92 semifinal win in Las Vegas, Nev. UNLV won the tournament title that year and has a league-best 9-3 record after making the finals four times in four MWC Tournament appearances. Wyoming is 3-5 all-time in MWC Tournament play and has lost in the quarterfinals the past two years. UNLV won both meetings in regular season play this year to take the tie break.
Tickets for the 2005 MWC Basketball Championships are now on sale. The Pepsi Center will be opening their box office for MWC Tournament ticket sales on Sunday, March 6. Hours will be 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Fans can also visit www.ticketmaster.com or call 303-830-TIXS immediately to purchase tickets on Saturday night and Sunday morning (additional service fees may apply).
The defending league tournament champion Utes (25-4, 13-1) face No. 8 seed Colorado State (11-16, 3-11) in the quarterfinal round Thursday, Mar. 10 at noon MT (ESPN+Plus). Utah, the first team in MWC history to win 13 conference games in a season, is 7-4 all-time in MWC Tournament play and has never lost a quarterfinal round game. The Utes swept the regular season series vs. the Rams and won the only meeting between the teams in the MWC Tournament, 69-66, in the 2002 quarterfinals.
New Mexico (23-6, 10-4) earned the No. 2 seed, its highest in league history, and will face No. 7 BYU (9-20, 3-11) at 7 p.m. MT Thursday (ESPN+Plus). The Lobos are 2-5 all-time in the MWC Tournament and have not won a conference tournament game since 2001 when they advanced to the championship game and lost to the Cougars, 65-69. The Cougars are 7-4 all-time in the MWC Tournament and have advanced to the semifinals four of the past five years. BYU is 3-0 vs. New Mexico in MWC Tournament play, including the 2001 title game win. The Cougars and Lobos split the regular season series, each team winning at home.
Air Force (18-11, 9-5) clinched the No. 3 seed with a 61-56 victory over Wyoming in the season finale for both teams today. The Falcons face No. 6 seed San Diego State (10-17, 4-10), the first meeting between the teams MWC Tournament history, at 10 p.m. MT Thursday in a game televised by ESPN. Air Force is in search of its first-ever MWC Tournament win, while the Aztecs are 3-4 all-time in MWC Tournament play, including their championship run in 2002. Air Force swept the regular season series.
All seven games of the MWC Men's Basketball Championship will be televised, including three national appearances on ESPN. ESPN Radio (KLZ 560 AM) Denver will broadcast all 14 games of the MWC Basketball Championships (seven men, seven women), while Westwood One will carry the men's title game. Fans can tune in to the radio broadcasts via selected radio affiliates throughout the MWC region, as well as on the MWC website (www.TheMWC.com).