San Diego State Complaint about Full Home-and-Home MW Hoops Schedule Does Not Compute
The Mountain West Conference has finally addressed a major issue, and effective in the 2022-23 season, the 11 basketball members of the conference will play a home-and-home against each of the 10 other members of the conference.
By a 7-4 vote the MW athletic directors supported the move, which is expected to receive the final approval from school presidents in early June.
San Diego State continued to lead the opposition to the plan, saying it will impact the school's ability to build schedule that is strong enough to enhance the chances of earning an NCAA tournament bid.
The Mountain West, however, has experienced difficulty in attracting a strong non-conference schedule -- particularly in terms of home games -- and the general feeling is that the two additional conference games will ease those problems.
In addition to San Diego State, the San Diego Union Tribune reported that sources indicated the three other teams to oppose the decision were UNLV, Nevada and Air Force.
The vocal opposition came from San Diego State, whose athletic director, John David Wicker argued the two additional MW games will impact the Aztecs ability to build a strong schedule for a potential at-large bid.
Under the current schedule -- which remains in place for the next two seasons because of the two-year deal that goes in effect this fall for a home-and-home series against Atlantic 10 teams.
"Extremely disappointed that the rest of the league wanted to go to 20 games," Wicker told the Union-Tribune. "We'll just have to figure out how to deal with that."
An easy solution for Wicker would be to eliminate low-level non-conference games. While San Diego State had only single games with MW members San Jose State and Air Force last year, did that help strengthen their ledger for a potential at-large berth?
Their non-conference schedule did including wins over Texas Southern (77-42), Tennessee State (62-49) and San Diego Christian (92-48), a average margin of victory of 30-plus points. Eliminating two of those games in exchange for a road game at Air Force and home game at San Jose State would have actually added a stronger schedule.
Consider the three other teams that reportedly voted against the 20-game conference schedule:
-- UNLV did not play Air Force and Wyoming, taking advantage of the extra non-conference opportunities against the likes of Purdue-Fort Wayne, Abiliene Christian, Jackson State and Robert Morris.
-- Nevada did not play Fresno State and Utah State, taking advantage of the extra non-conference dates for games against California State-East Bay, Colorado Chrisitan, Valpariso and Texas Southern.
-- Air Force did not play UNLV and San Diego State, but did add non-conference games against Jackson State and Johnson and Wales.
And the schools consider that strengthening their schedules?
San Diego State points to the fact in the 2015-16 season it was 16-2 in the MW, lost the MW conference tournament and didn't get an invite to the NCAA tournament.
What the Aztecs ignore in that argument is that their 12-8 non-conference not only included wins against Biola, Nichols State and San Diego Christian, but also home-court losses, to Arkansas-Little Rock (49-43), San Diego (53-48) and Grand Canyon (52-45).
With that kind of a non-conference schedule, it's hard to put much stock in the Aztecs whining about having to play 20 conference games, instead of 18.