They will face Fresno State – which eked out an overtime win over San Jose State Wednesday – at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the MW quarterfinals in Las Vegas.
The Aztecs (21-7) hold the third seed, behind Boise State and Colorado State. As a top seed, they had a bye in the first round. Fresno State (19-12) – which pushed San Diego State to double OT a week ago – is seeded sixth.
Coach Brian Dutcher called the tourney “wide open,” pointing to the talent throughout the conference. He noted, though, one advantage for his team – its depth.
“It’s going to be a tall task for anyone to work through this field and cut nets down on Saturday,” he said.
Nevada and Utah State emerged victorious Wednesday and will play Boise State and Colorado State respectively.
Meanwhile, with the regular season complete, the results of coaches’ and media members’ votes on conference honors were announced this week, with Matt Bradley, Chad Baker-Mazara and Nathan Mensah scoring major awards.
- Bradley, a guard , has been named the league’s Newcomer of the Year by both coaches and media voters. He made the all-MW first team in the coaches results and was all-second team among media voters.
- Mensah, a forward, is the Defensive Player of the Year in both polls. He also made the conference all-defensive team in the coaches vote and was named a third-team honoree in the media results.
- Chad Baker-Mazara was voted the Sixth Man of the Year by conference coaches.
- Lamont Butler also made the conference all-defensive team, as determined by the coaches.
Bradley, in his first season at SDSU after transferring from Cal, led the team in points, 497, points per game, 17.8, field goals, 170, and three-point field goals, 53, among several other offensive categories.
Overall, in the MW, he was fourth in free-throw percentage, sixth in three-pointers and ninth in scoring,
Twice this season in league play, Bradley totaled at least 80 points in a three-game stretch, including the last three games of the regular season. That feat helped secure his second MW Player of the Week honor, as well as national acclaim. He received the ESPN National Player of the Week and basketball commentator Andy Katz’s NCAA Digital March Madness Player of the Week.
Mensah topped the league with 59 blocks, as did his average of 2.11 per game, which ranks No. 38 nationally. In conference games, he averaged 1.94 blocks per contest – 33 in 17 games– more than half a block better than his nearest conference rival. His 2.12 offensive rebounds per game ranked fifth.
The senior had multiple blocks in 10 MW contests, including logging a season-best four blocks on three occasions. He also had five games with 10 or more rebounds.
Baker-Mazara, who transferred from Duquesne after last season, appeared in 16 of the team’s 17 conference games. He averaged 7.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in league play while shooting 47.3% from the floor. In addition, he had 15 steals, 11 assists and eight blocks.
All five of his double-digit scoring games came in conference play, including his game and season-high 20 points at Fresno State.
Butler led the Aztecs with 43 steals, including 29 in Mountain West play. He recorded a season-best four steals in three league games during the season.
Updated 6:20 p.m. March 9, 2022