Today’s post is dedicated to the Mountain West Conference. The conference whose beat writers and coaches think so little of that each group voted San Diego State – a team that was somewhere around 130th to 150th best in the nation last season – the pick to win the league.
One of the many MWC mysteries is how first-year coach Jeff Bzdelik will handle his Air Force team. Last night they played Washington in a 71-possession game, losing 85-74. Last season, the fastest-paced game the Falcons played was a 66-possession contest in the MWC tourney against San Diego State.
It needs to be mentioned that Washington was the 15th fastest team last season, so the Huskies had something to do with the pace of last night’s game. And there was some late fouling which artificially inflated the tempo number. Monday’s win against Miami of Florida has alleviated some of that anxiety, but there’s still the concern that Bzdelik will move Air Force back to a more conventional style. One that gave them a long history of futility in this game.
Line o’ the Night
FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts Justin Williams 32 5-9 0-1 3-9 4-20 2 3 2 2 9 13 Result: Win. Wyoming 87, Charlotte 78.
Stats can be deceiving and indeed when your opponent misses 59 shots it’s a little easier to rack up the gaudy rebound totals. But Williams was a big reason why his opponents shot so poorly and his nine blocks may stand as the high block game of the season for a while – there were only nine double-digit block games last season. Williams racked up 49 boards and 18 blocks in the three games of the BCA invitational.
Did I mention that the preseason pick for MWC player of the year is a power forward that had an eFG% of 48.1% last season? That’s not very good for a power forward. Williams, who was also the Cowboys most efficient scorer last season, will end up with great numbers if his health allows him on the floor for 30+ minutes each game.