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Mountain West Basketball Early 2019-20 Predictions – Episode 32

Photo by Alan Smith/Icon Sportswire

Jack Williams


Coach Craig Smith had this Utah State team playing on a very high level in 2018-19. Utah State should continue that success in 2019-20. New Mexico placed in the middle of the pack last season but should improve on their record in 2019-20 with the addition of some very solid transfers. San Diego State will remain competitive and the Coach Dave Pilipovich should have his Air Force team to continue the success it had in 2018-2019.

With that said, here is our Mountain West prediction for 2019-20:

1. Utah State Aggies

Second year head coach Craig Smith has his Utah State team ready to take over the Mountain West in 2019-20. This team has several key players returning from a roster that finished in the first round of the NCAA tournament tournament, which includes their top three scorers, Sam Merrill, Diogo Brito, and Neemias Queta. This Utah State team was good in all categories last season, which includes scoring, defense, assists, and rebounding. Expect this Utah State team to surprise a lot of people in the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
Projected Starting 5:

Abel Porter PG

Sam Merrill SG

Brock Miller SG

Roché Grootfaam PF

Neemias Queta C


2. New Mexico Lobos

Scoring should remain high for New Mexico with the return of their top two (2) scorers Vance Jackson and Carlton Bragg. Both Scoring and defense should improve with the additions of division 1 transfers Zane Martin and JaQuan Lyle. Martin, a transfer from Towson was the top point producer for his Towson team in 2017-2018. He is also a very good defender. In his final season at Townson he averaged 19.8 points 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Lyle who didn't play the entire 2018-2019 season should be ready for the 2019-2020 season. Lyles' passing skills should help New Mexico to improve dramatically in scoring. Expect this New Mexico team to give Utah State a run for their money.

Projected Starting 5:

JaQuan Lyle PG (Ohio State)

Vance Jackson SG

Makuach Maluach SF

Carlton Bragg PF

Corey Manigault PF

3. San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State had problems scoring last season. However, they are looking to correct that problem by strengthening their back court. With the additions of Graduate transfer KJ Feagin, Washington State's transfer Malachi Flynn, and JUCO transfer Trey Pulliam, this is going to be one of the strongest back courts in the Mountain west.  Feagin was hurt in his senior year at Santa Clara after two games. But after sitting out the remainder of the season he should be healthy and ready to go. San Diego State should also look for Nolan Narain to step up and play a bigger role in the line-up. Expect this San Diego State team to compete for the top of the Mountain West.
Projected Starting 5:

KJ Feagin PG (Santa Clara)

Jordan Schakel SG

Matt Mitchell SF

Nolan Narain PF

Nathan Mensah PF

4. Air Force Falcons

The Air Force will be returning five of the frequent starters from the 2018-2019 season. What this team lacked in offense they made up for in defense. The Air Force ranked 6th in the Mountain West in defense, holding their opponents to an average 68.6 points per game. Hopefully this team will find a way to put more points on the boards. The Air Force should be a middle of the conference team in 2019-20.
Projected Starting 5:

Caleb Morris SG

Keaton Van Soelen SG

A.J. Walker SG

Lavelle Scottie SF

Ryan Swan SF

5. Boise State Broncos

Boise State will get back several key players from the 2018-2019 season which incudes top three scorers, Alex Hobbs, Justinian Jessup, and Derrick Alston. Let's just hope that Boise State will find a way to put more points on the boards. Boise State was ranked 8th in the Mountain West and 202th nationally in scoring offense last season. This is also a very small team in size so expect rebounding to suffer as usual.

Projected Starting 5:

Marcus Dickinson PG

Alex Hobbs SG

Justinian Jessup SG

Derrick Alston SF

Robin Jorch C

6. Nevada Wolf Pack

The Wolf Pack will begin the 2019-20 season with a new coach in Steve Alford, a coach who knows how to win and a coach who has experience coaching in the Mountain West. Lindsey Drew, who was serious injury late in the 2017-18 season, should be healthy and available to play. Drew averaged 8.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in 2017-18, before being injured. Nevada has also added two (2) of the top JUCO transfers in the country to their roster in Eric Parrish and Robby Robinson. We expect both to top the Wolf Pack’s starting lineup in 2019-20.

Projected Starting 5:

Lindsey Drew PG

Jalen Harris SG (LA Tech)

Eric Parrish SF (Bossier Parish)

Robby Robinson III PF (San Diego City)

Zane Meeks PF

7. Colorado State Rams

Colorado State has several key players returning as well. However, this team is small and may continue to have problems rebounding and defending the rim. Colorado State may continue to struggle to make their way up to the top of the Mountain West.

Projected Starting 5:

Kendle Moore PG

Kris Martin SG

Adam Thistlewood SF

Nico Carvacho PF

Dischon Thomas PF

8. Fresno State Bulldogs

Fresno State has only one player on the roster who has averaged double digits in scoring last season.  The question is, can Fresno State score as many points in 2019-20 as they have the previous season? Fresno state ranked 3rd in the Mountain West and 75th in the nation in scoring offense last season, with a averge of 76.5 points per game.
Projected Starting 5:

Noah Blackwell PG

New Williams SG

Nate Grimes SF

Chris Seeley PF (Utah)

Lazaro Rojas PF

9. Wyoming Cowboys

Wyoming was seriously hit by injuries last season. Hunter Maldonado and Austin Mueller were both out for the season after just eight games. The both of them should be healthy enough next season to make a difference on the team. However, this team was absolutely terrible in nearly all categories last season. For a team that had so many guards on the roster, they were dead last in the Mountain West in assists. They were also at the bottom of the Mountain West in the defense and rebounding categories. 
Projected Starting 5:

Jake Hendricks PG

A.J. Banks PG

Trevon Taylor SG

Hunter Maldonado SF

Hunter Thompson PF

10. UNLV Rebels

UNLV will need for Bryce Hamilton and Nick Blair to play bigger roles on this team. Both players have the potential to put up some big numbers next season. There is still some concern about depth on this team, both in the front and back court. Getting to the top of the Mountain West may be an uphill battle for this team.
Projected Starting 5:

Amauri Hardy PG

Elijah Mitrou-Long PG (Texas)

Bryce Hamilton SG

Nick Blair SF

Cheikh Mbacke Diong C

11. San José State Spartans

This San Jose team sat in last place in the Mountain West.  Looking at this roster, there is not one player on this team who has averaged double digits in scoring on the Division 1 level. Expect this team to continue to struggle.
Projected Starting 5:

Brae Ivey PG

Zach Chappell PG

Seneca Knight SF

Craig LeCesne PF

Christian Anigwe PF

College Basketball 2019-2020 Predictions

American Athletic Conference (AAC) | Athletic Coast Conference (ACC) | Big East Conference | Big Ten Conference

Big 12 Conference | Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) | Pac 12 | South Eastern Conference (SEC) | Sun Belt

Mountain West Conference (MWC) | West Coast Conference (WCC) | More...

Podcast: Mountain West Basketball Early 2019-20 Predictions – Episode 32