The Western Athletic Conference is greatly improving in men’s basketball, and could become a multi-bid league once again soon. With five teams in the Top 120 of the KenPom rankings, there’s plenty of room for growth now that the conference has a bit more stability.
But tomorrow is for the biggest prize the league offers; a bid in the NCAA Tournament to the conference tournament champion. We take a look at the matchup below
No. 6 Abilene Christian: 23-9 (11-7 WAC), 120 NET, 118 KenPom
The Wildcats dropped five in a row in January, but have come on since with a 12-2 mark since including three wins in this tournament. Junior forward Airion Simmons (11.8 points, 5.8 rebounds per game) leads a group that has one of the most interesting stats in all of college basketball: ACU concedes more free throws per field goal attempt than any other team in the country at a whopping 49.1%.
But they also take the ball away on a stunning 28.7% of possessions, which also leads the nation. That’s a commitment to physical defense that shows how tough the Wildcats can be to play.
No. 1 New Mexico State: 25-6 (13-4 WAC), 82 NET, 85 Ken Pom
The Aggies have a rich, proud, and loud tradition of great college basketball. They’ve been to eight NCAA Tournaments since the 2010 season, but have needed an automatic bid each time due to the relative weakness of their league.
NMSU starts four upperclassmen, and they defend at a high-major level. What the Aggies sometimes fail to do is score from the outside, as they make just 33% of their three-point attempts.
How to watch the WAC Tournament Championship Game
When: Saturday, March 12, 10:00 p.m.
Where: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Livestream: WatchESPN.com, ESPN app
Odds for WAC Tournament Championship Game from DraftKings Sportsbook:
Spread: New Mexico State -4
Odds for both teams at DraftKings Sportsbook before tournament
New Mexico State: +150
Abilene Christian: +1500
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