MWC: Rolling the Dice

By David Scott - October 25, 2006


LAS VEGAS – Hang Time has arrived in Las Vegas and we’ve yet to lose a dollar, which we’re taking as an encouraging sign.

The cross country trip was smooth and lady luck shone upon us immediately by leaving the center seat vacant on a 98-percent full flight. (We’re taking that as a sign of good things to come our way in Casino Land.)

We also took special notice of the occupant of First Class Seat 1C on Flight 67 from Boston – former Boston University and 1980 Team USA team member, Mike Eruzione. To re-cap – in the course of 10 minutes we had a Miracle on Ice sighting and, with our roomy seating arrangement for the five-hour flight, a Miracle in Air.

Anybody care for a Miracle at Aladdin’s blackjack tables?

Anyway, we’re here for college hoops, specifically the Mountain West Conference’s annual media day. Last season, the league placed two 24-win teams in the NCAA tournament with both Air Force and San Diego State suffering first round losses to Big Ten teams (Illinois and Indiana respectively). It looks like a two-bid league again this year, but the outside possibility exists that three MWC teams could wind up dancing.

The 2006-07 season has five MWC teams that return four starters each (Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, SDSU and Utah) and each of the members (except last year’s newcomer, TCU) have been to the Big Dance this decade. So, it’s a league with experience and credentials and one that returns all nine coaches that started last season (no small feat in today’s world of constant coaching change).

It’s also a league with some intriguing transfers, perhaps none more so than 6-foot-5, 205-pound, New Mexico junior guard, J.R. Giddens, who averaged 10.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in two seasons at Kansas, including Big 12 all-freshman honors in 2003-04, when he started 29 of 33 games and shot a lofty 41 percent from 3-point land.

With head coach Rickie McKay losing four starters from last season’s 17-13 team, Giddens will have the green light to try and make up for some of the lost scoring.

* Another potentially potent and impact transfer is TCU’s sophomore forward, Kevin Langford, who left the Pac 10’s Cal Bears for head coach Neil Dougherty’s Horned Frog program. At Cal as a freshman, Langford appeared in 26 games, starting three. With three starters gone to graduation, Langford will be looked to help the team’s leading returning scorer, junior guard Brent Hackett.

* One transfer from last year has the somewhat dubious distinction of leaving the program that won the national championship during his first season of action with his new school. SDSU’s senior forward Mohamed Abukar left Florida in 2005 and wound up the MWC’s Newcomer of the Year last season as well as a second-team All-MWC pick, averaging 14.3 points and 4.7 rebounds.

* We're heading over to UNLV practice shortly and if the wireless Gods are kind, we'll be posting live from the COX practice gym adjacent to the Thomas and Mack Center. If not, we'll get back with you just prior to the start of the CSTV Media Slam from MWC, which kicks off at 9 p.m. EST on CSTV.

Posted by David Scott at 03:22 PM on October 25, 2006
Comments (1)


Make sure you give us plenty on the Cowboys sensational backcourt of Brandon Ewing and Brad Jones.

Put a Buck on 23 black for me.

Have fun !!!!

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