In an effort to try and be fair, the Mountain West Conference has come up with a plan for the final week of the regular basketball season.
Before the 2020-21 campaign began, the league put together a conference schedule that had every school playing a two-game series with each member of the MW for a total of 20 games. The final week was left open for making up games that had to be postponed, which is a good thing as many games were not played.
However, there are more games to be made up than time to do so before the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas, which begins the second week of March. On Tuesday afternoon, the league announced its plan.
Every school will play each other at least once. Obviously, that means some schools will not play a two-game series with some, but all schools will play each other at least once, unless there is a COVID-19 problem that forces that not to happen.
For the Utah State men, it means playing Wyoming once at home on March 4, and then going to Fresno State on March 6. The second home game against the Cowboys will not happen. Both of these games involving the Aggies will be televised by FS1 with the home contest against the Cowboys beginning at 7:30 p.m. and the road game against the Bulldogs tipping at 9 p.m.
“After developing and vetting several models, a framework whereby each team plays every other team in the conference at least once during the regular season was identified as the best mechanism to balance all the variables from a conference-wide point of view,” a MW release stated. “Among those were potential NCAA Tournament impacts, the overall competitive integrity of the league schedule, implications for the final regular-season standings and seeding for the conference tournament, television contractual obligations, input from multiple league constituents and the cadence of the remaining schedule.”
One team was not affected at all on the men’s side in Air Force and will complete its 20-game conference schedule on March 1, and then have no league games in the final week of the regular season.
Six men’s games from previously postponed series will not be rescheduled and considered canceled and declared “no contests”. Those games include New Mexico at Colorado State, Colorado State at Nevada, Nevada at San Jose State, San Diego State at UNLV, UNLV at Wyoming and Wyoming at Utah State.
The San Diego State at New Mexico series initially scheduled for Feb. 3 and 5, has been declared a “forfeit” by the conference membership due to the circumstances involved. The Aztecs will be awarded two wins and the Lobos two losses for final regular-season standings and conference tournament seeding purposes only. According to the NCAA, this does not change an institution’s official overall won-lost record.
“The conference office was charged by the membership with determining the optimal plan for rescheduling games which had been postponed during the course of the regular season,” MW Commissioner Craig Thompson said. “This presented a very complex equation which included contemplating several variables, but this approach provides each institution the opportunity to control its own destiny over the final two weeks of the regular season and through the course of the Mountain West Tournament.”
Utah State (14-7, 11-4 MW) hosts Nevada (14-7, 9-5) this Friday and Sunday in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum before turning its attention to the make-up games the following week.
For the Aggie women, they have a very busy stretch coming up. USU will play at Nevada this coming Wednesday and Thursday. Then the Aggies return home for games on Sunday and Monday against New Mexico and finish the regular season at San Diego State on Thursday, March 4.
The conference tournament for the women begins on Sunday, March 7, while the men begin on Wednesday, March 10.