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LITTLETON, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference released its men's basketball preseason media poll and all-conference team today at the league's media day being held at the The Mtn. studios in Littleton, Colo.
Conference media selected defending regular-season champion BYU to repeat as the Mountain West Conference men's basketball champion, marking the second time the Cougars have been picked to win the crown. Five teams earned at least one first-place vote, with BYU capturing 15 of 22 first-place votes and 181 points for the top spot in the poll. 2007 MWC Tournament champion UNLV (146 points) and Utah (142 points) each earned two first-place votes to finish second and third, respectively, while New Mexico garnered two first-place votes and 128 points to tie for fourth with San Diego State, who received one first-place vote and 128 points. Wyoming collected 120 points to finish sixth, followed by TCU in seventh with 58 points. Air Force was chosen eighth with 54 points, while Colorado State rounded out the poll in ninth place with 33 points.
BYU and UNLV earned NCAA Tournament berths last season, while Air Force and San Diego State were NIT participants. The Cougars captured the regular-season Mountain West title with a 13-3 mark and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament following a runner-up finish in the MWC Tournament. UNLV posted a second-place finish in regular-season play (12-4) and became the second Mountain West team in three years to advance to the Sweet 16, earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after capturing the MWC Tournament crown.
Overall, the MWC has had 18 NCAA Tournament appearances the past eight years. Since 2003, all nine MWC teams have participated in postseason play at least once.
Five institutions were represented on the preseason all-MWC team. Wyoming's Brandon Ewing was named the Top Returning Player, while San Diego State's Ryan Amoroso garnered Top Newcomer accolades. BYU's Jimmer Fredette received Top Freshman kudos. One senior and four juniors make up this year's preseason all-MWC team.
2007-08 Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll
Rank School (First Place Votes) Points 1. BYU (15) 181 2. UNLV (2) 146 3. Utah (2) 142 4. New Mexico (2) 128 San Diego State (1) 128 6. Wyoming 120 7. TCU 58 8. Air Force 54 9. Colorado State 33
2007-08 Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Preseason All-MWC
Name Class Position Institution Trent Plaisted So. F/C BYU J.R. Giddens Sr. G New Mexico Wink Adams Jr. G UNLV Luke Nevill Jr. C Utah Brandon Ewing Jr. G Wyoming
Top Returning Player Brandon Ewing, Jr., G, Wyoming
Top Newcomer Ryan Amoroso, Jr., F, San Diego State
Top Freshman Jimmer Fredette, BYU
All-Conference Team Bios
Top Returning Player
Brandon Ewing (6-2, 190, Jr., G, Wyoming) - Named second-team all-MWC in 2006-07. Also named first-team all-District VIII by USBWA and second-team all-District 13 by NABC. Led MWC and ranked 28th nationally in scoring (19.9 ppg) last season. First Wyoming player in school history to reach 1,000-point career milestone before end of sophomore year. Trent Plaisted (6-11, 245, Jr., F/C, BYU) - Two-time all-MWC second-team honoree. Was the Cougars' top shot-blocker (1.4 bpg) and second-leading scorer (12.6 ppg) and rebounder (6.2 rpg) last season. Scored in double figures 21 times while posting three double-doubles in 2006-07. Also named to the 2007 MWC All-Tournament team. Earned Freshman All-America Second Team honors and MWC Freshman of the Year accolades in 2005-06.
J.R. Giddens (6-5, 205, Sr., G, New Mexico) - Honorable mention all-MWC in 2006-07. Recorded three double-doubles while leading the team and ranking seventh in the MWC in scoring (15.8 ppg) last season. Was the Lobos' second-leading rebounder (6.5 rpg) in 2006-07.
Wink Adams (6-0, 190, Jr., G, UNLV) - Second-team all-MWC selection last season. Team's second-leading scorer in 2006-07 (13.9 ppg), reaching the 20-point plateau on five occasions. Was the only Runnin' Rebel to start all 37 games last season, scoring in double figures in 27 of those contests.
Luke Nevill (7-1, 265, C, Utah) - USBWA and NABC All-District selection in 2006-07. Third-team all-MWC pick last season and honorable mention all-MWC as a freshman. Team's leading scorer (16.8 ppg) and rebounder (7.7) in 2006-07, while ranking ninth nationally in field goal percentage (63.7%).
Ryan Amoroso (6-8, 257, Jr., F, San Diego State) - Sat out the 2006-07 season after transferring to San Diego State from Marquette. Made eight starts while playing in 57 games for the Golden Eagles from 2004-06, averaging 15.1 minutes, 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Jimmer Fredette (6-2, 190, G, BYU) - A first-team All-State selection in New York, closing out his high school career as the all-time leading scorer at Glens Falls High School in Glens Fall, N.Y. with 2,404 points. Averaged 28.8 points per game while making 81 three-pointers and shooting 92 percent from the free throw line as a senior.