It was little surprise the Mountain West basketball tournaments will remain in Las Vegas and be contested at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.
Both the men and women will continue to play for an automatic berth to their respective NCAA Tournaments in Sin City. The league made it official on Wednesday and announced the tournaments will remain there at least through 2023.
The Mountain West’s board of directors approved a recommendation from an ad hoc committee made up of two athletic directors, two senior woman administrators, two men’s basketball coaches and two women’s basketball coaches, which was endorsed by the full directors of athletics group. The Mountain West Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships will be back for 2021, 2022 and 2023.
“The Mountain West is pleased to extend its long history of successful men’s and women’s basketball championships at the Thomas & Mack Center,” MW Commissioner Craig Thompson said in a press release. “Las Vegas has become a mecca for college basketball in early March, and our MW fans have made it clear this is their preferred destination.”
The Thomas & Mack Center has hosted the Mountain West Basketball Championships in 17 of the conference’s 20 years.
The 2020 MW Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships will take place March 1-7. Tickets are now on sale via each institution’s athletic box office.
“Las Vegas has had a long and storied history with the Mountain West,” Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson said in a press release. “Since its inception, we have hosted the annual basketball championships 17 times at the Thomas & Mack Center. We are proud to be able to extend our partnership through the 2023 tournament.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased to be hosting the MW Basketball Championships through 2023,” TMC Executive Director Mike Newcomb said. “We have a great history and relationship with the Mountain West and to be able to continue to host the championships is a great opportunity for The Thomas & Mack Center, UNLV and the city of Las Vegas.”
Queta doing well for Portugal
It will be a bit longer before Aggie center Neemias Queta returns to join his teammates this summer. The soon-to-be sophomore at Utah State has been playing for his country — Portugal — in the U20 FIBA European Championships.
The Portuguese team went undefeated in Group D, advancing to the quarterfinals. Portugal beat North Macedonia (73-39), Luxembourg (86-44), Slovakia (76-61) and Belgium (81-53) to set up a quarterfinal matchup with Georgia, the second-place finisher of Group C, on Friday.
In the tournament opener against North Macedonia, Queta anchored a Portuguese defense that held its opponent to just 27.7 percent shooting from the floor and a paltry three points in the first quarter. Queta finished the game with a team-best 12 points, a game-high eight rebounds and four blocks and added two steals and one assist.
Portugal’s staunch defense continued in the second game against Luxembourg, holding the side to 33.3 percent from the floor. Queta paced Portugal for the second consecutive game on the glass, finishing with a team-best eight rebounds, added eight points, three blocks and one steal in just over 20 minutes of action.
Statistically, Queta had his best game of the tournament in Portugal’s victory over Slovakia, recording a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Queta also blocked two shot and had one steal, shooting 80.0 percent (8 of 10) from the floor.
In the battle for first place in Group D, Portugal routed Belgium in the group finale as the Portuguese defense held Belgium to 36.2 percent from the floor. Queta finished the game with eight points and a game-high eight rebounds, while adding one assist and one block.
For the tournament, Queta is averaging 11.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.0 steals per game.