(1) BRIGHAM YOUNG
■ RECORD: 28-3, 14-2
■ BEST NONCONFERENCE WINS: Arizona, Saint Mary’s, Utah State
■ PLAYER TO WATCH: Jimmer Fredette. A first-team All-MWC pick for the third straight year, the senior guard has scored 2,395 career points. He needs 72 to pass Danny Ainge for the most at BYU. Fredette, the league’s Player of the Year, leads the nation in scoring at 27.9 points per game.
■ FAST FACT: The Cougars were not sweating out the result of Wednesday’s play-in game, as they are a combined 27-0 against Texas Christian and Wyoming in the past six seasons.
■ COACHSPEAK: "When we flew home from San Diego, I felt really good about our team and really good about our future." — Dave Rose, on BYU’s 80-67 victory over San Diego State on Feb. 26, three days before sophomore forward Brandon Davies was suspended.
(2) SAN DIEGO STATE
■ RECORD: 29-2, 14-2
■ BEST NONCONFERENCE WINS: Gonzaga, Long Beach State, California
■ PLAYER TO WATCH: D.J. Gay. The senior point guard went 177 consecutive minutes without committing a turnover, while totaling 23 assists, during one stretch of conference play. He had 33 points and one turnover in 70 minutes in two victories over Utah.
■ FAST FACT: The Aztecs shared the MWC regular-season title, just their second regular-season championship in the past 33 years. But they own a record-tying three MWC tournament titles (2002, 2006 and 2010).
■ COACHSPEAK: "We’re a legitimately very good defensive team. We’re long, we’re athletic, we guard hard, and we take a lot of pride in it." — Steve Fisher
■ RECORD: 23-7, 11-5
■ BEST NONCONFERENCE WINS: Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Kansas State
■ PLAYER TO WATCH: Tre’Von Willis. In three seasons at UNLV, the senior guard has 1,272 points to rank 19th on the career list. He needs 30 points to pass Greg Anthony for 17th.
■ FAST FACT: In their last four regular-season games, the Rebels shot 31-for-65 (.477) from 3-point range. But in 16 conference games, UNLV ranked seventh in 3-point percentage (.309), ahead of only Colorado State and Wyoming.
■ COACHSPEAK: "Given the chance of playing (the tournament) here or somewhere else, we would rather play here. We’re playing as well right now as we have in a couple months." — Lon Kruger
(4) COLORADO STATE
■ RECORD: 19-11, 9-7
■ BEST NONCONFERENCE WINS: Southern Mississippi, Northern Colorado
■ PLAYER TO WATCH: Andy Ogide. The senior forward ranks in the league’s top 10 in six categories, including No. 1 in field-goal percentage (.578), second in scoring (18.2) and fourth in rebounding (7.8).
■ FAST FACT: The Rams lost four of their last five regular-season games, with an average margin of defeat of 12.5 points.
■ COACHSPEAK: "We’re trying to be single-minded on a goal, and the goal is to win the Mountain West tourney and get into the NCAA Tournament. I think we’re one of the last few teams out." — Tim Miles
(5) NEW MEXICO
■ RECORD: 20-11, 8-8
■ BEST NONCONFERENCE WINS: Colorado, New Mexico State
■ PLAYER TO WATCH: Dairese Gary. A first-team All-MWC pick for the second straight year, the senior point guard has played in 133 games and started 128, with 96 career wins and 1,440 points.
■ FAST FACT: Junior guard Phillip McDonald scored 27 points in the Lobos’ 68-61 victory over Colorado State on Jan. 12. He had six points in a 68-62 loss to the Rams on Feb. 12.
■ COACHSPEAK: "We had some frustrating losses through the conference season on the last play of the game. It happened four times. But the guys kept fighting. We’re excited about the finish to our season." — Steve Alford
(6) AIR FORCE
■ RECORD: 15-14, 6-10
■ BEST NONCONFERENCE WINS: Wofford, Sam Houston State
■ PLAYER TO WATCH: Tom Fow. The senior guard ranks second in the league in 3-point shooting percentage (.467) and third in 3-pointers made (70).
■ FAST FACT: The Falcons are 0-11 in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West tournament. Their only two tournament wins came in the play-in game.
■ COACHSPEAK: "Our young men understand how good UNLV is, and they understand the type of difficulty it will be playing them on their home court. When they make shots from the perimeter and they’ve got that inside force, they’re as good as anybody in this league and maybe anybody in the country." — Jeff Reynolds
■ RECORD: 13-17, 6-10
■ BEST NONCONFERENCE WINS: Boise State, Montana
■ PLAYER TO WATCH: Josh "Jiggy" Watkins. The junior point guard is the team’s second-leading scorer at 14.6 points per game. But he has 103 assists and 100 turnovers for the Utes, who rank last in the league in turnover margin.
■ FAST FACT: San Diego State dealt Utah its most lopsided loss of the season, 85-53 on Feb. 8. The Aztecs led by 27 at halftime.
■ COACHSPEAK: "We love playing in Vegas. I think we’ve had five wins down there in the last three years, so we’ve had some success down there. It’s an opportunity to kind of start over and put things behind you." — Jim Boylen
(9) TEXAS CHRISTIAN
■ RECORD: 11-21, 1-15
■ BEST NONCONFERENCE WINS: Southern California, Southern Methodist
■ PLAYER TO WATCH: Hank Thorns. The junior point guard, a Virginia Tech transfer and Valley High School product, ranks in the nation’s top 10 in assists. He scored 16 points in a 70-61 win over Wyoming on Wednesday.
■ FAST FACT: The Horned Frogs’ victory over the Cowboys marked the fourth consecutive year the MWC’s No. 9 seed defeated the No. 8 seed in the play-in game. Each time the ninth-seeded team had zero or one win during regular-season conference play.
■ COACHSPEAK: "BYU was one of the best teams in the country with (Brandon) Davies, and they’re still one of the best teams in the country. For me to say we got them right where we want them, I don’t know that I can actually say that." — Jim ChristianMWC TOURNAMENT BRACKETS