A Near-Unanimous Pick...

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The following release came out a short time ago, concurrent with Mountain West Conference Basketball Media Day:


BYU favored to win regular-season crown; Cougars' Fredette tabbed Preseason Player of the Year

DENVER, 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 Mtn. studios in Denver, Colo.

Conference media overwhelmingly selected three-time defending MWC champion BYU as the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference men's basketball regular-season title in 2009-10. The Cougars, one of three teams to share the regular-season crown in 2008-09, captured 23 of 24 first-place votes and 215 points for the top spot in the poll.

San Diego State, the 2009 MWC Tournament runner-up, collected the remaining first-place vote and 166 points to finish in second, followed closely by UNLV in third with 161 points. Utah and New Mexico, who split the 2008-09 MWC regular-season title with BYU, landed in the fourth- and fifth-place spots, respectively, with the Utes tallying 143 points to the Lobos' 141 points.

Wyoming received 89 points to finish sixth, followed by TCU (82 points) in seventh, Colorado State (58 points) in eighth and Air Force (25 points) in ninth to round out the poll.

BYU is coming off a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and a 25-8 overall record in 2008-09. The Cougars received an at-large berth after capturing their third straight Mountain West regular-season title with a 12-4 mark.

San Diego State turned in a fourth-place effort (11-5) in regular-season Conference play. Following their runner-up finish in the MWC Tournament, the Aztecs advanced to the semifinals of the 2009 National Invitation Tournament, closing out the season with a 26-10 overall mark.

UNLV (21-11) and New Mexico (22-12) joined the Aztecs in the NIT, while Utah (24-10) captured the 2009 MWC Tournament crown and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, making its first trip to the Big Dance since a Sweet 16 appearance in 2005.

Over its 10-year history, the Mountain West Conference has received 22 bids to the NCAA Tournament, including 13 at-large berths. The MWC has had at least one at-large qualifier in nine of those 10 years, including eight straight. Since 2003, all nine MWC teams have participated in postseason play at least once.

Three juniors and two seniors representing four institutions were chosen for the 2009-10 preseason all-MWC team. BYU's Jimmer Fredette received Preseason MWC Player of the Year honors, while UNLV's Derrick Jasper garnered Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades and San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard collected Preseason Freshman of the Year kudos.



Rank School (First-Place Votes) Points

1. BYU (23) 215

2. San Diego State (1) 166

3. UNLV 161

4. Utah 143

5. New Mexico 141

6. Wyoming 89

7. TCU 82

8. Colorado State 58

9. Air Force 25



Name, Class, Position Institution

Jimmer Fredette, Jr., G BYU

Jonathan Tavernari, Sr., G/F BYU

Billy White, Jr., F San Diego State

Zvonko Buljan, Sr., F TCU

Tre'Von Willis, Jr., G UNLV


Preseason Player of the Year

Jimmer Fredette, Jr., G, BYU


Preseason Newcomer of the Year

Derrick Jasper, Jr., G, UNLV


Preseason Freshman of the Year

Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State


So, how did my picks match up with the league-wide media voting opinion? You can check out this blog entry from last week to see my ballot.

In short, I agreed with the 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th-place selections. I had UNLV 2nd and SDSU 3rd; the official voring flip-flopped those picks. I had Wyoming 5th and New Mexico 6th; the official voting flip-flopped those picks. As I said last week, Wyoming was a bit of a flier for me, and I probably had New Mexico too low, with the overall belief that it was a bit of a crapshoot after BYU.

I agreed with four of the five all-league selections. I had Wyoming's Afam Muojeke in place of TCU's Zvonko Buljan, reasoning that when in doubt, pick the player on the better team (or the team you believe will end up being better). I was not surprised by Buljan's selection; as a senior with good junior numbers, he was all but sure to be picked.

I agreed with the Player and Newcomer of the Year selections; I had BYU's Tyler Haws as Freshman of the Year, reasoning that if he ends up as a starter (as I believe he could) on the very deep league champs, that would make him pretty good. I think Leonard will be a good player, too, but Haws could have a more significant impact.


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