COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference announced its 2003 EAS Men's Basketball Championship bracket Saturday with Utah earning the No. 1 seed in the tournament to be held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 13-15.
Utah and BYU tied for the regular season title with identical 11-3 conference records, but the Runnin' Utes swept the regular season series against the Cougars to claim the top seed. Utah won at least a share of the MWC regular season title for the third time in four years, while BYU registers its second crown since the league's inception in 1999. Wyoming and UNLV tied for third with identical 8-6 marks, but the Cowboys will be the No. 3-seed after sweeping the Runnin' Rebels this season. San Diego State claims the fifth seed with a 6-8 league record followed by No. 6 Colorado State, No. 7 New Mexico and No. 8 Air Force. Each of the four quarterfinals games will feature match-ups where the higher seed swept the lower seed during regular season play.
No. 1 Utah (23-6, 11-3) will play No. 8 Air Force (11-16, 2-12) in a first round game Thursday, March 13. The Utes swept the Falcons this year during regular season play, with both games being decided by 10 points or less. Utah defeated Air Force in the first round of their only other tournament meeting back in 2000, 74-65. The Utes are 2-3 in MWC Tournament history, while the Falcons are 0-3.
No. 2 BYU (22-7, 11-3) will face No. 7 New Mexico (11-16, 5-8) in the first quarterfinal game of the tournament. The Cougars have defeated the Lobos in both of their previous MWC Tournament meetings, including a 69-65 victory in the 2001 championship game. BYU holds a 5-2 record in the MWC Tournament, while New Mexico is 2-3 and has captured just one quarterfinal contest.
The second game on Thursday will feature No. 3 Wyoming (20-9, 8-6) vs. No. 6 Colorado State (16-13, 5-9). The Cowboys have won all three of their quarterfinal games since the tournament began in 2000, while the Rams are searching for their first-ever tournament victory. Wyoming has won seven in a row against Colorado State, but the last three games have all been decided by three points or less.
UNLV (19-9, 8-6) will be No. 4-seed and play No. 5-seed San Diego State in the final quarterfinal contest Thursday. The game will be a rematch of last year's championship tilt won by the Aztecs, 78-75. The Runnin' Rebels are 5-1 in the MWC tournament and have reached the title game in both tournaments they participated in. San Diego State advanced past the quarterfinals last year for the first time and holds an all-time MWC Tournament record of 3-2.
Single session tickets for the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship will go on sale at 11 a.m. Monday, March 10 at the Thomas & Mack box office. Lower level tickets are $30 per session and upper level tickets $19. Call (866) 388-3267 or (702) 739-3267 to order by phone.
2003 EAS Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship
March 13-15 (Thursday-Saturday)
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quarterfinals -- March 13 (Thursday)
Game 1 -- No. 2 BYU vs. No. 7 New Mexico Noon PST -- ESPN+Plus
Game 2 -- No. 3 Wyoming vs. No. 6 Colorado State 2:30 p.m. PST -- ESPN+Plus
Game 3 -- No. 1 Utah vs. No. 8 Air Force 6 p.m. PST -- ESPN+Plus
Game 4 -- No. 4 UNLV vs. No. 5 San Diego State 9 p.m. PST -- ESPN
Semifinals -- March 14 (Friday)
Game 5 -- Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 6 p.m. PST -- ESPN+Plus
Game 6 -- Winner Game 3 vs. Game 4 Winner 9 p.m. PST -- ESPN
Finals -- March 15 (Saturday)
Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner 7 p.m. PST -- ESPN