Semifinals On Tap

By Rhiannon Potkey - March 14, 2008

LAS VEGAS -- It will be hard for the semifinal games at the Mountain West Conference tournament to match the compelling two quarterfinal games last night.

It started with No. 2 UNLV beating No. 7 TCU 89-88 on a three-point play by Wink Adams with 3.4 seconds remaining. TCU lost despite hitting a conference tournament record 17 three-pointers.

An upset followed with No. 6 Utah outlasting No. 3 New Mexico 82-80 in overtime. The loss likely ended New Mexico's hopes for an at-large NCAA bid.

The lineup for tonight is:

- No. 1 BYU (26-6) vs. No. 4 San Diego State (20-11), 6:35 (PT)

- No. 2 UNLV (24-7) vs. No. 6 Utah (17-3), 9:05 (PT)

BYU and San Diego split the season series withe each team winning on its home floor. Both games were close with BYU beating SDSU by three points in Provo, Utah and San Diego State beating BYU by
four points in San Diego last month.

UNLV and Utah also split the regular-season series with both teams winning on their home floors (see below)


Home-court advantage:

The tournament is being played at the Thomas & Mack Center, which is UNLV's home floor.

The coaches in the conference have mixed feelings about this situation. Some have stronger feelings about moving the tournament to a neutral floor than others.

If UNLV defends its title, the grumblings may grow louder. SDSU head coach Steve Fisher said the topic is likely to be discussed when the coaches meet after the season.

When the tournament was played in Denver, Colo., hardly anyone showed up to watch and the atmosphere was dead. That's not the case here.

Las Vegas is a destination that draws fans for reasons beyond just basketball, and many players say they enjoy playing in front of the packed house.

The ideal situation would probably be to find an arena in Las Vegas other than T&M. The Orleans Arena is considered too small.

The city is planning to build a larger arena in a few years, and the contract the conference has here runs out in 2010 with an option for two more years.

Posted by Rhiannon Potkey at 08:53 PM on March 14, 2008

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