Mountain West Welcomes New Faces

By Rhiannon Potkey - October 17, 2007


LITTLETON, Colo. -- The nine-team MWC is undergoing a torrent of change with five new head coaches taking over this season. The most notable hire was Steve Alford, who left Iowa for New Mexico.

Alford played only one MWC team -- Air Force -- while coaching at Iowa and hasn't coached or played in any of the arenas.

When asked what he expects from the conference race he said, "I have no idea and I mean that. Seriously last week with travel stuff I had my assistant tell me, 'Well coach you have to consider weather.' It's all new to me."
Alford has been pleased with the fan base in Albuquerque.

"They really appreciate college basketball there," said Alford, who starred at Indiana under Bob Knight as a player. "That is our goal this year is to make The Pit not just a great place to play, but a place where we win games."

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Clean bill of health:

TCU coach Neil Dougherty is celebrating just having his players healthy for practice. The Horned Frogs have suffered injury after injury the past two seasons, and it had Dougherty questioning their strength and conditioning program. He even had a player suffer a torn meniscus doing a defensive slide drill.

But he determined it was just a fluke thing, and is hoping they can stay in one piece for the season.

"It's nice to have healthy bodies now," he said. "It's fun for me to have them in practice, and I don't have to change as much as I did in the past."

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Quick hitter:

- BYU was picked to defend its crown, but head coach Dave Rose believes this season is wide open.

"I think there is a lot of BYU is the favorite, but," said Rose. "Other times you get set with a team and be pretty firm with an argument. Not this season."

Posted by Rhiannon Potkey at 03:43 PM on October 17, 2007
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