BYU Picked Second In MWC Preseason Poll


    BYU Athletic Communications

    BYU was picked to finish second in this year?s MWC basketball race in a poll conducted at the league?s media day Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006.

    Media voters picked the Cougars to finish second to defending regular-season champion San Diego State. They also named BYU sophomore Trent Plaisted, the MWC Freshman of the Year, to the Preseason All-MWC Team.

    “There are so many returning players off the top teams from last year, and people pick the teams and players they’re most familiar with,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “I know there are teams in the seven, eight and nine spots that have some pretty good players and are going to be a lot better than people think. It will be a competitive league. We’re all going to play this thing out and see what happens.”

    This is the second straight season SDSU has been picked to win the crown. Three teams earned at least one first-place vote, with the Aztecs 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.

    “This will be a different kind of season for us,” said Rose. “Last year, we spent a lot of time trying to instill confidence in our guys. Now that we’ve had some success, we’re in a position where we need to make sure that our success doesn’t affect our work ethic, our purpose and how the team plays together. We’ve set a level for what our team expects, and now we have to go out and work hard enough to achieve that every day.”

    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 (Plaisted) made up this year’s preseason all-MWC team.

    MWC 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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