2024 Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Preview, Odds and Prediction

Which team from the Wild West will leave Las Vegas as champions?

Boise State v Utah State
Boise State v Utah State / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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The Mountain West was without a doubt the most competitive conference in the country, not just among the mid-majors, the entire country.

Six teams won over 20 games, all six of those teams will arguably be playing in the NCAA tournament, and seven total teams in the conference were separated by a total of four games.

With a conference filled with contenders almost from top to bottom, I am going to cover the four teams that I believe can win the Mountain West tournament and provide the best value at the same time.

Odds to Win the Mountain West Conference Tournament

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San Diego State Aztecs (+230)

The Aztecs are the defending tournament champions and the favorite to repeat this year. They returned four members from their Final Four team a year ago and by mid-January they looked ready to head back to the Final Four; ranked in the top 25, with wins over St. Mary’s and Gonzaga, it appeared as though the Aztecs hadn’t lost a step.

Until conference play began, and the Aztecs found themselves struggling to win on the road, with all six of the conference losses coming on the road and four of those losses were by five points or fewer.

The Aztecs have been to the last six Mountain West championship games, and if they are to return, the conference’s leading scorer Jaedon Lee will have to find a way to get the Aztecs wins in the Las Vegas desert.

Utah State Aggies (+440)

The Aggies were picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll after having to hire their third coach in four seasons and losing two key contributors from last season’s team to the transfer portal.

However, first year coach Danny Sprinkle had Great Osobor and Darius Brown II follow him from Montana State and lead the Aggies to the regular season title.

A big key to their success has been defending the perimeter, holding opponents to 28.2% from 3-point range, which is third best in the country. Much like the Aztecs however, the Aggies struggled on the road, with three of their four conference losses coming on the road and all of those losses were by double digits.

A potential matchup with San Diego State on Friday night would be their first test of the tournament.

Nevada Wolfpack (+550)

The Wolfpack are the hottest team in the Mountain West right now, winners of seven straight games, including impressive road wins over Colorado State and Boise State.

The dynamic backcourt duo of Jarod Lucas and Kenan Blackshear leads a team that averages 76.4 points per game, and stymies their opponents to 66.5 points per game (second in MW).

The value in a Wolfpack team that has not struggled to win away from home and has at least one win over the other four top five teams in the conference is very enticing, but be careful. The Wolfpack were swept in the regular season by New Mexico and there is the possibility those teams may meet for a third time late Friday night.

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (+850)

In late January, the Runnin’ Rebels were 9-9 and headed in no particular direction, until they rattled off 10 wins in 12 games, and earned a top four finish in the conference. Despite this late run, UNLV will have to win the conference tournament to punch its ticket to the big dance, due to losses to Southern, Loyola Marymount and Air Force on its resume.

When this team is at its best it can win this tournament; the Runnin' Rebels have wins over Creighton, Boise State, San Diego State, and they swept New Mexico. However, three blown double-digit second half leads this season begs the question. Can this team consistently play a complete game?

Star freshman Dedan Thomas Jr. leads the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game, and a matchup against the defending champion Aztecs awaits the Runnin’ Rebels on Thursday afternoon.

If the regular season was any indication of what the postseason will bring, then the Mountain West tournament might be the best tournament to watch during championship week.

It will require streaming games at work and staying up past midnight for those on the East Coast, but it is worth the excitement.

I will be backing the San Diego State Aztecs in this tournament.

Yes I know it is square to bet the favorite, but I can’t ignore the experience of being in the last six championship games. Additionally, having the best defense in the conference and the conference’s leading scorer aren’t bad tools to have at your disposal.

It should be a great week in Las Vegas for the Mountain West. Enjoy the madness.

Pick: San Diego State (+230)


Odds update periodically and are subject to change.