Runnin' Utes Picked Fourth

The Mountain West Conference released its men's basketball preseason media poll and all-conference team today at the league's media day being held at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

Conference media selected defending regular-season champion San Diego State to repeat as the Mountain West Conference men's basketball champion, marking the second straight season the Aztecs have been picked to win the crown. Three teams earned at least one first-place vote, with SDSU capturing 17 of 21 first-place votes and 192 points for the top spot in the poll. BYU earned one first-place vote and finished second with 156 points, while Air Force garnered three first-place votes and 147 points to place third. Utah received 114 points to finish fourth, followed by New Mexico and UNLV in fifth and sixth with 101 and 99 points, respectively. Colorado State was chosen seventh in the poll with 68 points. 2006 MWC Tournament runner-up Wyoming (51) and TCU (27) rounded out the poll.

San Diego State and Air Force earned NCAA Tournament berths last season. The Aztecs captured the regular-season Mountain West title with a 13-3 mark and were the league's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament after winning the MWC Tournament crown. SDSU became the first team in MWC history to win an outright regular-season title and conference tournament championship in the same season. UNLV (2000) and BYU (2001) each won a share of the regular-season crown before winning conference tournament titles in the same year.

Overall, the MWC has had 13 NCAA Tournament appearances the past five years. Since 2002, all nine MWC teams have participated in postseason play at least once. All eight charter members of the MWC have participated in the NCAA Tournament at least once in the last seven years. TCU's last appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 1998.

Four teams were represented on the preseason all-MWC team with San Diego State earning Top Returning Player honors (Brandon Heath) and Utah garnering Top Newcomer (Stephen Weigh) accolades. Three seniors, a junior and a sophomore made up this year's preseason all-MWC team.

Weigh (6-6, 220), a freshman forward/guard from Rockhampton, Australia, spent the past two seasons with the Australian Institute of Sport, the country's junior national team development program. He averaged 19 points and five rebounds last summer. Weigh led the AIS team in scoring at the Jones Cup, a FIBA International Tournament in Taipei, in July 2005.

Preseason Media Poll
School (First Place Votes)   Points
1. San Diego State (17)      192
2. BYU (1)                   156
3. Air Force (3)             147
4. Utah                      114
5. New Mexico                101
6. UNLV                      99
7. Colorado State            68
8. Wyoming                   51
9. TCU                       27

Preseason All-MWC Jacob Burtschi, Sr., F, Air Force Trent Plaisted, So., F/C, BYU Jason Smith, Jr., F, Colorado State Mohamed Abukar, Sr., F, San Diego State Brandon Heath, Sr., G, San Diego State

Top Returning Player Brandon Heath, Sr., G, San Diego State

Top Freshman Stephen Weigh, G/F, Utah


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