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Posted: Friday November 05, 1999 04:30 PM
Mountain West overview
New conference, same result for Majerus' Utes
By Phil Miller, Special to CNN/SI
Hanno Mottola is a key component in the Utah juggernaut. Jonathan Daniel/Allsport
A new conference restores old rivalries. But without an automatic NCAA berth to play for this year, will anyone care about a meaningless conference tournament? Can big-reputation coaches at New Mexico (Fran Fraschilla) and San Diego State (Steve Fisher) improve their teams' running-in-place results? Which college and NBA teams will court Rick Majerus after he notches his eighth conference championship?
How they will spend Selection Sunday
San Diego St.
Players to Watch
| Top Three Frontcourt Players |
Hanno Mottola, Utah |
Turned down pro offers in Europe to try to lead Utes to sixth straight league title.
Alex Jensen, Utah
Shot 60 percent in WAC, now he's Utah's best rebounder, MWC's top defender, too.
Ugo Udezue, Wyoming
Led Pokes in scoring (20.5), rebounding (7.4), shooting (47.4 percent) as a sophomore.
| Top Three Backcourt Players |
Lamont Long, New Mexico |
Unstoppable in the clutch -- he won five games with last second shots.
Mark Dickel, UNLV
Longtime leader, he's played 94 games; recorded double-digit assists 10 times.
Anthony Blakes, Wyoming
At 6-2, his 24 blocks show hustle and athleticism; all-WAC defender.
| Top Three Newcomers |
Terrell Lyday, BYU |
Fresno JC gunner will have freedom to find shots inside and out.
Marlon Palmer, New Mexico
He's so good, freshman may break into stacked Lobo backcourt.
Trent Whiting, Utah
Goes from Snow (Utah) JC to point guard's dream: a team of veteran scorers.
| Hot Coach |
Fran Fraschilla, New Mexico |
Lobomania is stronger than ever ...
| Coach on the Hot Seat |
Fran Fraschilla, New Mexico |
But they won't settle for just making the tournament anymore.
| Toughest Schedule |
Colorado State |
Rams face Oregon State, Arizona State, Michigan, Colorado
| Quickest-Way-to-20-Wins Schedule |
Home games with Stony Brook, Augusta St., Sioux Falls, Chicago St., Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Southern Utah.
Mark Your Calendar
Nov. 19, Utah at Kentucky (in preseason NIT second round if both win first-round games) |
Rematch of '97 NCAA final.
Dec. 1, BYU at Arizona
Cougars nearly upset Wildcats in overtime last year.
Jan. 2, UNLV at Cincinnati.
Rebels face perennial Midwest power.
Jan. 13, New Mexico at Wyoming
Duel of the backcourts: Lobos Long and Henry against 'Pokes Blakes and McMillian.
Feb. 19, Utah at New Mexico
Showdown in The Pit could decide conference title.
Phil Miller covers the Mountain West for the Salt Lake City Tribune.
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