Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Game of the week
(7) BYU at (6) San Diego St.
Saturday, noon, CBS
You saw it right, a MWC game on network TV.
The winner will likely secure a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. BYU won 71-58 the first time.
Around the MWC
It's Epic Showdown, Part II
For the second time in the past month, the Mountain West Conference features a matchup between a pair of top-10 teams when No. 6 San Diego State hosts No. 7 BYU Saturday.
The high-profile sequel will be nationally televised on CBS.
When the two teams squared off on Jan. 26 in Provo, the No. 9 Cougars defeated the No. 4 Aztecs, 71-58, as Jimmer Fredette poured in 43 points. It was SDSU's first, and only, loss of the season.
"We are excited about where we are and are very much looking forward to a rematch with a terrific BYU team on Saturday," said Aztec coach Steve Fisher. "It should be a wonderful event. The nation will be involved and watching. We are excited to be a part of it."
For the MWC, it's a rare opportunity to have one of its games on national TV.
"It's a little bit more difficult for West Coast teams," said BYU coach Dave Rose, referring to national exposure. "The media is mainly East Coast. A lot of the games that we play, for everyone out here (in the West), the media have long gone to bed. That's something that's just built in with college basketball and probably other sports, too. But the bottom line is CBS picked our game a long time ago for Saturday and both of our teams have played well enough to make it a really relevant game."
"This is the game everyone is waiting to see, to see if we're as good as people say we are," said SDSU guard DJ Gay.
The Aztecs lead the nation with a school-record 27 victories and own the nation's top winning percentage (.964).
San Diego State has also won 18 consecutive home games, tying with Wisconsin for the nation's sixth-longest active home winning streak. The Aztecs' most recent setback at Viejas Arena occurred last season against BYU, 71-69.
The MWC received four NCAA Tournament bids a year ago. Can the conference equal that feat again?
Said Colorado State coach Tim Miles: "I do think four teams could get in from our league."
SDSU and BYU, of course, are mortal locks for the Big Dance. The question is, what about CSU and UNLV?
The Rams are in third place in the MWC standings and have an 18-8 record overall. The Runnin' Rebels are 20-7. UNLV is No. 26 in the RPI, while CSU is No. 47.
Both teams have a few more weeks to prove their case for inclusion to the selection committee.
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