DENVER, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference released its men's basketball preseason media poll and all-conference team today at the league's media day being held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center.
The league media selected BYU to claim the Mountain West Conference men's basketball title with 144 total points and 13 of the possible 19 first-place votes. Utah was picked second with 138 points and was the only other team to garner first place votes with six. Defending MWC Tournament Champion Colorado State came in third with 107 points, followed by UNLV fourth with 97. Wyoming placed fifth with 73 points, followed by San Diego State (55), New Mexico (36), and Air Force (35).
The Cougars and Utes shared the conference's regular season crown last season with 11-3 records. BYU went 23-9 overall and fell to Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Utah finished the 2002-03 season 25-8, defeating Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Kentucky in the second round.
The Mountain West Conference has sent six of its eight teams to the postseason each of the past two seasons and is the only league in the country to have sent 75 percent of its members to the postseason two straight years.
|Preseason Media Poll|
|School (First Place Votes)||Points|
|6.||San Diego State||55|
Tim Keller, Jr., G, Air Force
Rafael Araujo, Sr., C, BYU
Mark Bigelow, Sr., F, BYU
Matt Nelson, Jr., C, Colorado State
Tim Frost, Sr., F, Utah
Nick Jacobson, Sr., G, Utah
Top Returning Player
Matt Nelson, Jr., C, Colorado State
Andrew Bogut, Fr., C, Utah
All-Conference Team Bios
Tim Keller (6-3, 180, Jr., G, Air Force) - Was a third-team All-MWC selection in 2002-03 and led the Falcons in scoring averaging 14.8 points per game. He led the MWC and finished sixth in the nation in 3-point percentage (45.1%) last season. Keller is currently No. 3 on Air Force's career list for FT percentage (82.8%) and No. 7 for 3-pointers made (110). He concluded the 2002-03 season making his last 14 free throws.
Rafael Araujo (6-10, 265, Sr., FC BYU) - Third-team All-MWC in 2002-03 as BYU's top rebounder (8.9) and third-leading scorer (12.0). He was second among MWC players in rebounds and recorded double-digit rebounds in 13 games. Led BYU in scoring nine times and reached double-figures in 18 contests. Araujo also ranked second on the team in steals (1.4) and was third among all MWC players in thefts in league games.
Mark Bigelow (6-7, 195, Sr., F, BYU) - Received third-team All-MWC honors in 2002-03 after being honorable mention all-conference in 2001-02 as a sophomore. He reached double digits in scoring 24 times last season and was BYU's second-leading scorer at 13.9 points per game. He was also third on the squad in rebounding (3.6), assists (2.3), steals (1.0) and blocks (0.4). Bigelow made a team-leading 63 three-pointers last season with multiple treys in 18 games. With 172 career treys he is BYU's career leader.
Matt Nelson (7-0, 255, Jr., C, Colorado State) - Third-team All-Mountain West Conference selection in 2002-03. Named the 2003 MWC Tournament MVP after setting a new scoring record with 70 points, including back-to-back 20-point games in wins over Wyoming (25) and BYU (28). Nelson shot 50 percent or better from the field 26 of 31 games and averaged 17.0 points per game. This past summer he participated in tryouts for U.S. Pan American Games Team.
Tim Frost (6-10, 236, Sr., F, Utah) - Second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection in 2002-03. Led Utah in scoring eight times and rebounds 12 times. Scored at least 20 points four times and reached double figures in 23 games. He also had two double-doubles. Ranked 14th in the Mountain West in scoring (12.8 ppg), 13th in field goal percentage (48.1), 14th in rebounding (4.9 rpg), 10th in blocked shots (0.79 bpg) in 2002-03.
Nick Jacobson (6-4, 210, Sr., G, Utah) - Named third-team All-Mountain West Conference and led Utah in scoring (13.3 ppg) for the second straight year in 2002-03. Ranked 13th in the Mountain West in scoring (13.3 ppg), fifth in three-point percentage (42.3) and fourth in three-pointers per game (2.42) last season. Jacobson also had six 20-point games and reached double figures in all but six contests in 2002-03. Scored in double-figures in 12 of the 14 conference games.
Top Newcomer Bio
Andrew Bogut (6-10, 220, Fr., F/C, Utah) - Member of the U-19 Australian National Team and named MVP of the 2003 FIBA Junior World Championships held in Greece this past summer. In eight games of competition at the tournament he averaged 26.3 points and 17.0 rebounds, while shooting 61 percent from the field and 74 percent from the free throw line.