March 8, 2009
LAS VEGAS -
The UNLV men's basketball team finished the 2008-09 Mountain West Conference season in fifth place in the league standings and is the No. 5 seed for next week's Conoco Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship, which will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center, March 11-14.
The Runnin' Rebels lost at San Diego State, 57-46, on Saturday night to finish the conference season with a 9-7 record. UNLV, 21-9 overall this season, will face No. 4 seed San Diego State (21-8, 11-5) for the second straight game in the 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal on Thursday, March 12. The game will be simulcast live on both the Mtn. and CBS College Sports in high definition on both networks.
UNLV and San Diego State have squared off in tournament play four previous times, including two quarterfinal meetings, one semifinal contest and the 2002 title game, which was won by the Aztecs at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV is 2-2 all-time against San Diego State in the MWC Tournament. UNLV holds a league-best 17-5 all-time record in the MWC Tournament, while SDSU is 8-7 in tournament action. UNLV leads the all-time series with SDSU 31-14.
UNLV, the two-time defending tournament champion, is a perfect 8-0 in the quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament.
BYU won a three-way tie-breaker with fellow MWC reguar-season tri-champions Utah and New Mexico to enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed for the third consecutive year. Utah finished second in the tie-breaking process and earned the No. 2 seed, while New Mexico captured the No. 3 seed.
The Cougars (24-6, 12-4), who won the tie-breaker by virtue of their two-game season sweep of San Diego State, will face the winner of Wednesday’s (March 11) first-round game between No. 8 seed Colorado State (9-21, 4-12) and No. 9 seed Air Force (9-20, 0-16) on Thursday at 12 p.m.
Utah (21-9, 12-4) earned the No. 2 seed over New Mexico by virtue of the Utes' No. 9 ranking in the March 2 NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) report, and will take on No. 7 seed TCU (14-16, 5-11) in the 6 p.m. game Thursday. No. 3 seed New Mexico (21-10, 12-4), faces No. 6 seed Wyoming (18-12, 7-9) in the 8:30 p.m. game Thursday. All of Thursday's quarterfinal games will be televised on both the Mtn. and CBS College Sports in HD. Wednesday's game will not be televised.
All-session and single-session tickets for the Conoco MWC Men's Basketball Championship are now on sale at the Thomas & Mack Center ticket office, online at UNLVTickets.com or by calling 702-739-FANS. The Thomas & Mack Center ticket office will be open Monday, March 9 at 10 a.m.
The MWC Championship has produced six different champions in its nine-year history. UNLV (2000, 2007, 2008) and San Diego State (2002, 2006) are the only teams to have won multiple titles, followed by BYU (2001), Colorado State (2003), Utah (2004) and New Mexico (2005) with one apiece.
The No. 1 seed has won the tournament just twice in nine years. UNLV entered the inaugural MWC Tournament as the top seed in 2000 and won the title. In 2006, San Diego State became the second No. 1 seed to claim the crown.
The No. 2 seed (BYU, New Mexico, UNLV), No. 3 seed (Utah), No. 5 seed (San Diego State) and No. 6 seed (Colorado State) have captured tournament championships, while the No. 4 seed is 0-3 and the No. 7 seed is 0-1 in title games. The No. 8 seed and No. 9 seeds have yet to appear in the championship game.
The Mountain West Conference regular-season champion has made it to the finals of the tournament six times in nine years (UNLV in 2000; BYU in 2001, 2007 and 2008; Utah in 2005 and San Diego State in 2006), winning the championship three times. San Diego State is the only team to win both an outright regular-season title and the tournament crown in the same year.
UNLV has played in the championship game in each of the years that the MWC Tournament has been held at the Thomas & Mack Center (2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008 - UNLV was ineligible to compete in the 2001 tournament, which was held in Las Vegas).
2009 CONOCO MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Wednesday, March 11
2:00 p.m., First-round Game, No. 8 Colorado State vs. No. 9 Air Force, No TVThursday, March 12
12:00 p.m., Quarterfinal Game #1, No. 1 BYU vs. No. 8/No. 9 Winner, the Mtn. HD/CBS C HD
2:30 p.m., Quarterfinal Game #2, No. 4 San Diego State vs. No. 5 UNLV, the Mtn. HD/CBS C HD
6:00 p.m., Quarterfinal Game #3, No. 2 Utah vs. No. 7 TCU, the Mtn. HD/CBS C HD
8:30 p.m., Quarterfinal Game #4, No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 6 Wyoming, the Mtn. HD/CBS C HDFriday, March 13
6:00 p.m., Semifinal Game #1, Quarterfinal #1 and #2 Winners, CBS College Sports HD
8:30 p.m., Semifinal Game #2, Quarterfinal #3 and #4 Winners, CBS College Sports HDSaturday, March 14
4:00 p.m., Championship Game, VERSUS HD