Mountain West basketball tournament format set, plus Aggie links
The 2014 Mountain West men's and women's basketball tournaments will include all 11 teams with the top five conference finishers receiving byes.
The MWC's board of directors announced the decision following the annual meeting in Colorado Springs. The format for the tournament was among the agenda items facing the presidents this week as they get ready for a season with 12 football members and 11 all-sports members.
The tournament, running March 10 through 15 in the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, is scheduled to start with the first two rounds of the women's tournament, followed by the initial two rounds of the men's tournament. The semifinals of both tourneys will be Friday, then they'll wrap up Monday.
Seeds 1 through 5 get a first-round bye, with No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 playing first-round winners. The No. 4 and No. 5 seeded teams will play each other in the second round.
The format finalization ensures that Utah State's men's and women's basketball teams will get a shot to play in Vegas next March, but obviously they would do well to get byes. The Aggie men finished No. 5 in the WAC and lost in the conference quarterfinals. The Aggie women were No. 2 in the regular season, but dropped a WAC semifinal game against Idaho.
The board also announced its new executive committee: Nevada president Marc Johnson will be chair; Boise State president Robert Kustra is the incoming chair; Colorado State president Tony Frank will represent the conference for the College Football Playoff Board of Managers; UNLV president Neal Smatresk will be the representative on the NCAA Board of Directors.
Other Aggie links:
• Mountain West blogger Mick McGrane has been ranking the top five players at every position in the conference. Several Aggies have already made an appearance: Chuckie Keeton at No. 3 in quarterbacks; Tyler Larsen at No. 2 in offensive linemen; and both Jake Doughty and Zach Vigil in the linebacking top 5.
No Aggie presence in the running backs, receivers, tight ends or defensive linemen. Defensive backs still to come. Any big snubs? Kyler Fackrell comes to mind, and maybe Connor Williams. Chime in the comments section with your thoughts.
• It was a good weekend for Utah State's hoop targets. 2014 forward Brekkott Chapman was a standout at Pangos, making CBS Sports' list of the 16 top prospects at the showcase. An ESPN report named in him "Most Fundamental" player at the camp. Malik Harwell, the 2015 guard from Idaho, was noted for his performance at the Adidas Chicago Classic.
• Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson has been pretty vocal about his view that college football should expand its planned four-team format. But he's not the only one. MWC Connection lists the various high-profile football folk who believe the playoff should be bigger.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon
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