Mountain West Fooled Bettors and Lost Them Money at March Madness

San Diego State and the rest of the Mountain West was eliminated in the first round of March Madness.
San Diego State and the rest of the Mountain West was eliminated in the first round of March Madness. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball fans around the country ranted and raved about the Mountain West Conference all season. Even I fell to the trap of the Mountain West, claiming all year that they could make noise in this year's tournament.

As a result, four teams from the conference was awarded a bid, the most since 2013. Boise State, Wyoming, San Diego State and Colorado State were all given a birth.

Unfortunately, the celebration didn't last long. By the end of the first full day of games, all four schools were eliminated. Not only did they go 0-4, but they all also failed to cover the spread. That's right, 0-4 straight up and against the spread and just like that, the Mountain West Conference has been eliminated from the tournament.

What Went Wrong with Mountain West Teams?

I don't know if it's something in the water at Mountain West schools, but failing to close out games was a common theme amongst all three of them.

Wyoming failed to keep it close with Indiana down the stretch of the play-in game, Colorado State blew a halftime lead against Michigan, Boise State had a chance to tie the game late against Memphis before committing multiple turnovers in a row and San Diego State blew a late lead to Creighton, eventually losing in overtime.

People were praising how good each team was on defense, but maybe that was more of a factor of the Mountain West not having any good shooting teams. All four teams shot significantly worse than their season averages. Even Colorado State, whose season average effective field goal percentage was 54.8%, only shot at an EFG rate of 44.6% against Michigan.

Whatever the reason might be, keep this in mind next year when filling out your bracket. Dating back to last year, the Mountain West is now 0-6 straight up and against the spread in the NCAA Tournament.