The 2019 MWC season is officially over now. A lot could change between now and next year with unexpected players leaving and so many more transfers available in the spring. But based on current projected returning players, I would not be surprised if there is a lot of significant change in the standings. The bottom teams look to be stronger and some of the top teams may be rebuilding. Here, briefly and without much in-depth analysis, is my much-too-early projection for next year.
1. Boise State – No surprise here. Despite losing Hermida and Harrell, they are loaded, experienced, and add a big center from U. of Oregon.
2. San Diego State – They add a sharp-shooting senior guard who was a key sub for Oregon State to their other three talented starting guards. Also, return their entire front line rotation including double-double forward Mallory Adams. They showed signs in the MWC tournament that they are learning how to win.
3. New Mexico – Returns their top four guards plus a high-scoring transfer from UTEP. But point guard, Robertson, will likely start out in rehab. They add a center from Iowa State and a Top 100 freshman post. But is that enough additions to offset the loss of MWC Player-of-the-year Nunn and top defender McClure? TBD.
4. Colorado State – Adds three players from the Pac-12, including one on the all-freshman team. Also, returns Brady from injury. Just lacking a quality big center. Solve that this spring and the Rams could be contenders again.
5. Utah State – Lose one guard, Brewster, and a backup post, Mason. But they will be a very veteran squad headed by preseason POY, Shannon Dufficy.
6. Fresno State – They return the bulk of their team. But none as good as Candice White. Still too guard-oriented.
7. Wyoming – Must replace six seniors including Gomez, Cotton, Tapia, and Rakovic. Rusk and Erjavec are back, but their best returnee may be coach Legerski. Could stay in the top half if they add more Euros this spring.
8. Nevada – Loses two all-conference caliber players in Redmon and Briggs. Will need freshman class to improve in year two, but they have some promising pieces to the puzzle to work with and a bright young coach in Levins.
9. San Jose State – Only lost three of their last seven regular season games and two of those were at Laramie and the Pit. Plus, they have everyone back. Might surprise people, especially if a 6-3 grad transfer from Wake Forest pans out.
10. UNLV – Lost seven seniors including four starters. They have some athletes. But so far, the new recruits don’t look that impressive on paper. Will a trusted floor-leader emerge to make them better than the sum of their parts? Seems unlikely.
11. Air Force – Returns most of their team. But they regressed a bit this past year. They should be better next year, but someone has to finish 11th and it won’t be CSU. UNLV, maybe?