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MWC announces 2008-09 preseason basketball selections

MWC announces 2008-09 preseason basketball selections

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - 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 Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

Conference media selected two-time defending MWC Tournament champion UNLV as the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference men's basketball regular-season title in 2008-09. Three teams earned first-place votes, with UNLV capturing 16 of 24 first-place votes and 206 points for the top spot in the poll. Two-time defending MWC regular-season champion BYU (181 points) collected five first-place votes, while San Diego State (170 points) earned three first-place votes to finish second and third, respectively. Utah tallied 148 points for fourth and New Mexico earned 132 points for fifth. Wyoming received 75 points to finish sixth, followed by Air Force (66 points) in seventh, Colorado State (53 points) in eighth and TCU (49 points) in ninth to round out the poll.

Preseason Media Poll Rank School (First Place Votes) Points

  1. UNLV (16) 206
  2. BYU (5) 181
  3. San Diego State (3) 170
  4. Utah 148
  5. New Mexico 132
  6. Wyoming 75
  7. Air Force 66
  8. Colorado State 53
  9. TCU 49

UNLV and BYU are coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and identical 27-8 overall records in 2007-08. The Runnin' Rebels posted a second-place finish in MWC regular-season play (12-4) and advanced to the second round of the Big Dance after earning the league's automatic bid. The Cougars captured their second straight Mountain West regular-season title with a 14-2 mark, receiving an at-large berth. San Diego State and New Mexico were NIT participants in 2007-08, while Utah competed in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.

Over its nine-year history, the Mountain West Conference has received 20 bids to the NCAA Tournament, including 12 at-large berths. The MWC has had at least one at-large qualifier in eight of those nine years, including seven straight. Since 2003, all nine MWC teams have participated in postseason play at least once.

Five seniors representing five institutions were chosen for the 2008-09 preseason all-MWC team. BYU's Lee Cummard and UNLV's Wink Adams shared Preseason MWC Player of the Year honors, while UNLV's Tre'Von Willis garnered Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades and New Mexico's Phillip McDonald received Preseason Freshman of the Year kudos.

<b>Preseason All-MWC Team</b>
Lee Cummard, Sr., G, BYU
Lorrenzo Wade, Sr., F, San Diego State
Wink Adams, Sr., G, UNLV
Luke Nevill, Sr., C, Utah
Brandon Ewing, Sr., G, Wyoming
<b>Preseason Co-Players of the Year</b>
Lee Cummard, Sr., G, BYU
Wink Adams, Sr., G, UNLV
<b>Preseason Newcomer of the Year</b>
Tre'Von Willis, So., G, UNLV
<b>Preseason Freshman of the Year</b>
Phillip McDonald, G, New Mexico</p>

The Mountain West Conference also announced its 2008-09 preseason women's basketball poll and all-conference team today. The voting panel consisted of the league's nine head coaches and select women's basketball media.

Utah was tabbed as the preseason favorite after earning a perfect 16-0 conference mark and an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament last season. The Utes received 16 first-place votes and 206 total points.

San Diego State collected six first-place votes and finished second with 184 points, followed by TCU with two first-place nods and 161 points. New Mexico (148 points) placed fourth and garnered two first-place votes, followed by BYU (117 points), Wyoming (113 points), UNLV (80 points), Colorado State (44 points) and Air Force (36 points).

Preseason Media Poll Rank School (First Place Votes) Points

  1. Utah (16) 206
  2. San Diego State (6) 184
  3. TCU (2) 161
  4. New Mexico (2) 148
  5. BYU 117
  6. Wyoming 113
  7. UNLV 80
  8. Colorado State 44
  9. Air Force 36

Last year's all-MWC first-team member, Utah senior guard Morgan Warburton, earned Preseason Player of the Year honors, while Eboni Mangum of TCU was named Preseason Newcomer of the Year and BYU's Kristen Riley was tabbed Preseason Freshman of the Year. Three of the nine MWC teams were represented on the all-conference team, including one senior, two juniors and two sophomores. Warburton is a two-time first-team all-MWC selection and earned Associated Press honorable mention All-American accolades last season. She is joined on the preseason all-MWC team by teammate Kalee Whipple, San Diego State's Jené Morris and Paris Johnson and TCU's Helena Sverrisdottir.

<b>Preseason All-MWC Team</b>
Paris Johnson, So., C, San Diego State
Jené Morris, Jr., G, San Diego State
Helena Sverrisdottir, So., F, TCU
Morgan Warburton, Sr., G, Utah
Kalee Whipple, Jr., F, Utah
<b>Preseason Player of the Year</b>
Morgan Warburton, Sr., G, Utah
<b>Preseason Newcomer of the Year</b>
Eboni Mangum, Jr., G, TCU
<b>Preseason Freshman of the Year</b>
Kristen Riley, F, BYU</p>

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