Familiar Opponents, No. 6 Wyoming to Face No. 3 New Mexico in MWC Tourney Quarterfinal

March 8, 2009


2009 Conoco MWC Men's Basketball Championship Bracket

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Five short days after losing a heartbreaking one-point game to the New Mexico Lobos at home, the Wyoming Cowboys will have a chance at redemption when the two teams meet on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Conoco Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship. With a 74-73 win over the Cowboys, the Lobos won a share of the MWC regular season title. The Lobos drew the #3 seed due to a tiebreaker, while the Cowboys captured the #6 seed.

BYU won a three-way tiebreaker with fellow MWC regular-season tri-champions Utah and New Mexico to enter the Championship as the No. 1 seed for the third consecutive year. Utah finished second in the tie-breaking process and earned the No. 2 seed, while New Mexico captured the No. 3 seed. San Diego State ended regular-season league play in fourth place and claimed the No. 4 seed.

The MWC Championship will be held in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center, March 11-14. First-round action takes place Wednesday, March 11 with quarterfinals on Thursday, March 12, semifinals on Friday, March 13 and the championship on Saturday, March 14 at 4 p.m. PT.

The Cougars (24-6, 12-4), who won the tie-breaker by virtue of their two-game season sweep of San Diego State, will face the winner of Wednesday's first-round game between No. 8 seed Colorado State (9-21, 4-12) and No. 9 seed Air Force (9-20, 0-16) on Thursday at 12 noon (PT) in a simulcast on The Mtn. - MountainWest Sports Network and CBS College Sports Network. Colorado State leads the all-time series vs. Air Force, 63-29, including a sweep in the season series, and will be meeting the Falcons in MWC Tournament play for the second time. The Rams are 7-8 all-time in the MWC Tournament, while the Falcons are 0-9. BYU, which holds an 11-8 record in MWC Tournament contests, swept Colorado State and Air Force this season.

No. 4 seed San Diego State (21-8, 11-5) battles No. 5 seed UNLV (21-9, 9-7) in the 2:30 p.m. PT quarterfinal game Thursday, which will be simulcast on The Mtn. and CBS College Sports Network. The Aztecs and Runnin' Rebels have squared off in tournament play four previous times, including two quarterfinal meetings, one semifinal contest and the 2002 title game won by San Diego State. UNLV holds a league-best 17-5 all-time record in the MWC Tournament, while San Diego State is 8-7 in tournament action. The Aztecs narrowed the Rebels' lead in the series to 31-14 after sweeping both meetings this season.

Utah (21-9, 12-4) earned the No. 2 seed over New Mexico by virtue of the Utes' No. 9 ranking in the March 2 NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report, and takes on No. 7 seed TCU (14-16, 5-11) in the 6 p.m. PT quarterfinal game Thursday, which will be simulcast on The Mtn. and CBS College Sports Network. The Utes, 10-8 all-time in the MWC Tournament, lead the series 91-74 after sweeping the Horned Frogs this season. TCU is 1-3 overall in tournament play. This year marks the first meeting between Utah and TCU in tournament action.

No. 3 seed New Mexico (21-10, 12-4) faces No. 6 seed Wyoming (18-12, 7-9) in the 8:30 p.m. PT quarterfinal game Thursday, which will be simulcast on The Mtn. and CBS College Sports Network. The Lobos and Cowboys will meet in the MWC Tournament for the first time. New Mexico is 5-8 all-time in the MWC Tournament, while Wyoming is 6-9 overall in tournament action. The Lobos narrowed the Cowboys' lead in the series to 62-56 after sweeping both meetings this season.

When New Mexico and Wyoming face one another in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Championship on Thursday, it will be the first time since the 1995 WAC Tournament that they have played one another in a conference tournament. The two teams have played one another four times in conference tournaments, with each team winning two of those meetings. All four of those meetings came in the WAC Tournament.

All four conference tournament games between the Cowboys and Lobos have been decided by seven or fewer points. Two of those games have been decided by just two points.

Both of Wyoming's wins have come in the final seconds. In the 1986 WAC Semifinals, Turk Boyd nailed an 18-footer with one second remaining to give Wyoming a 56-54 win. In the 1987 WAC Championship game, Sean Dent hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left to give the Cowboys a 64-62 win.

Following are the four conference tournament games the two teams have played:
1995 in Albuquerque, N.M. (WAC Quarterfinals)- New Mexico won 63-56
1992 in Fort Collins, Colo. (WAC Quarterfinals)- New Mexico won 89-83
1987 in Albuquerque, N.M. (WAC Championship)- Wyoming won 64-62
1986 in Laramie, Wyo. (WAC Semifinals)- Wyoming won 56-54


  • The MWC Championship has produced six different champions in its nine-year history. UNLV (2000, 2007, 2008) and San Diego State (2002, 2006) are the only teams to have won multiple titles, followed by BYU (2001), Colorado State (2003), Utah (2004) and New Mexico (2005) with one apiece.

  • The No. 1 seed has won the tournament just twice in nine years. UNLV entered the inaugural MWC Tournament as the top seed in 2000 and won the title. In 2006, San Diego State became the second No. 1 seed to claim the crown.

  • The No. 2 seed (BYU, New Mexico, UNLV), No. 3 seed (Utah), No. 5 seed (San Diego State) and No. 6 seed (Colorado State) have captured tournament championships, while the No. 4 seed is 0-3 and the No. 7 seed is 0-1 in title games. The No. 8 seed and No. 9 seeds have yet to appear in the championship game.

  • The Mountain West Conference regular-season champion has made it to the finals of the tournament six times in nine years (UNLV in 2000; BYU in 2001, 2007 and 2008; Utah in 2005 and San Diego State in 2006), winning the championship three times. San Diego State is the only team to win both an outright regular-season title and the tournament crown in the same year.

Thomas & Mack Center • Las Vegas, Nevada
Wednesday, March 11 (all times PT)
2 p.m. First-round Game No. 8 Colorado State vs. No. 9 Air Force  
Thursday, March 12
12 noon Quarterfinal Game #1 No. 1 BYU vs. No. 8/No. 9 Winner
2:30 p.m. Quarterfinal Game #2 No. 4 San Diego State vs. No. 5 UNLV
6 p.m. Quarterfinal Game #3 No. 2 Utah vs. No. 7 TCU
8:30 p.m. Quarterfinal Game #4 No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 6 Wyoming
Friday, March 13
6 p.m. Semifinal Game #1 Quarterfinal #1 and #2 Winners HD
8:30 p.m. Semifinal Game #2 Quarterfinal #3 and #4 Winners HD
Saturday, March 14
4 p.m. Championship Game TBA HD
All games are Pacific Time