Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WAC Preview


The Western Athletic Conference did not have an exciting race for the regular-season title last season, but will have plenty of contenders for the title this season. A year ago, Utah State ran away with the conference championship, starting 12-0 and basically clinching the championship in early February. The Aggies did lose three of their final six games, though, so don’t give them the bid just. Nevada finished second at 11-5, while New Mexico State, Boise State and Idaho were 9-7. Utah State won the conference tournament before falling by one to Marquette in the first round of the Big Dance. Boise State and Nevada settled for the CBI, with Idaho going to the CIT. This season should be exciting all over the league.

1. Utah State: The Aggies are experienced and talented, and could repeat. Guard Jared Quayle and forward Tai Wesley lead a deep and versatile group.
2. Nevada: The Wolf Pack have two of the conference's best players in forward Luke Babbitt and guard Armon Johnson, both first-team all-conference candidates.
3. Idaho: A surprise team last year, the Vandals are looking to improve even more behind guard Mac Hopson and Pacific transfer Steffan Johnson.
4. New Mexico State: The Aggies could have the most firepower in the league, led by the backcourt of Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson.
5. Louisiana Tech: Look for the Bulldogs to be a sleeper this season, as they own an excellent inside-outside tandem in Kyle Gibson and Magnum Rolle.
6. Fresno State: The last-place Bulldogs could take a step forward with the talented forward duo of Paul George and Sylvester Seay.
7. San Jose State: The Spartans are going for their first winning season since 2001, and Adrian Oliver is going to have to be the leader in that quest.
8. Boise State: The Broncos lose just one starter from a postseason team, but they're going to need someone to step up and take the reins.
9. Hawaii: Despite being projected to finish last, the Rainbow Warriors have some talent, led by forward Roderick Flemings and Providence transfer Dwain Williams. 

Player of the Year: Luke Babbitt, F, Nevada

All-Conference Team:
G- Mac Hopson, Idaho
G- Jahmar Young, New Mexico State
G- Armon Johnson, Nevada
F- Roderick Flemings, Hawaii
F- Luke Babbitt, Nevada

Second Team:
G- Adrian Oliver, San Jose State
G- Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech
G- Jared Quayle, Utah State
F- Paul George, Fresno State
F/C- Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech 

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