Big week for the better basketball teams in the Mountain West Conference as the drive toward March Madness revs up.

Suddenly hot San Diego State visits 13th-ranked Brigham Young on Wednesday night in a game that is highly important for the Aztecs, and then No. 10 New Mexico visits BYU on Saturday in a contest that will be huge in determining which one of those two teams wins the regular-season title.

The Lobos (25-3, 11-2) have won 11 consecutive games, while BYU (25-3, 10-2) seldom loses on its homecourt, a fact San Diego State knows all too well.

The Aztecs (20-7, 9-4) are just 3-27 lifetime when playing the Cougars in Provo, Utah. And they desperately need to win this game to bolster what remains a soft postseason resume in terms of attracting an at-large NCAA berth.

San Diego State has won six of its last seven games but lacks quality nonconference wins and has a major blight on his ledger – a loss to hapless Wyoming (9-18, 2-11). The Aztecs probably need to win the Mountain West Conference postseason tournament to get into the NCAA tournament. Remember, they had a similar resume last season and were bypassed after losing to Utah in the conference tournament title game.

Fourth-place UNLV (20-7, 8-5) has gone from being a lock to dangerously close to the bubble after a recent three-game losing streak that included a second loss to mediocre Utah (12-14, 5-7). The Rebels have a soft finishing slate and then have the benefit of hosting the conference tournament so they have a solid shot at recovering and receiving an NCAA invitation.

The only Mountain West teams that don’t have to sweat out the conference tournament are New Mexico and BYU.

Fifth-place Colorado State (15-11, 6-6) hosts New Mexico on Tuesday night and the Rams can only hope the Lobos don’t pound them the same way BYU and UNLV did last week. The Rams lost by 22 points to the Cougars and then scored only 39 points during a 31-point loss to the Rebels.

TCU (12-15, 4-8) is playing out the string and Air Force (9-16, 1-11) needs a miracle to avoid a 20-loss season.

For an in-depth look at the Mountain West entering the crucial week of games, read this stellar roundup:


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