Mountain West Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Boise State v San Diego State

SDSU brings brighter spotlight to Big West

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The Big West was always a nice little conference before, but it had near zero national profile. That began to change when realignment brought in refugees like Hawaii and Boise State, but the volt meter really jumped when San Diego State decided to move its nationally-recognized basketball program, helmed by championship-winning coach Steve Fisher, into the league.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says rival schools have been trying to shake potential SDSU recruits by saying that their visibility will drop to bargain-basement levels when the Aztecs join the Big West. That might have worked last week, but this week things just got a whole lot easier for Fisher and Company.

The Big West just announced a new second-tier TV deal with Fox Sports Networks on Thursday that rivals anything the Aztecs might have seen as members of the Mountain West.

Per the newspaper:

A minimum of 20 sports events will be shown this season across the Fox Sports regional networks and increases to 32 when the Aztecs join the conference in 2013-14, including at least 12 Aztecs men’s basketball games on Prime Ticket, Fox Sports West and Fox Sports San Diego.

And this is technically the league’s “second-tier” TV rights. The Big West is still negotiating the top tier with ESPN, which likely will show the conference tournament and a few regular-season games.

“It is a great day for Fox Sports San Diego and San Diego State and Big West, and for our fans,” Aztecs athletic director Jim Sterk said. “It’s a long-term agreement. People will know where to catch San Diego State events. There’ll be no confusion.

“The minimum coverage is from Northern California to the Mexican border to Hawaii and east to Las Vegas. That’s a great footprint for us, but it can expand as different (Fox regional networks) across the country pick up the games.”

The third tier, or everything left over, reverts to the individual schools and for SDSU could mean even more games on Fox Sports San Diego.

Ironically, the people of San Diego might have the toughest time getting eyes on the hometown team. Local cable networks have various deals that don’t always prioritize SDSU games.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Kris Dunn vs. Denzel Valentine; Two 6-0 teams from Ohio battle in Orlando

Kris Dunn
AP Photo
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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Michigan State vs. Providence, 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Two Player of the Year candidates lock horns on Sunday night as Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine battles Providence’s Kris Dunn. Both players are strong threats to record a triple-double each time they take the floor and both are key reasons why their teams are 6-0. The Friars could probably use this game a bit more than Michigan State since they enter this game unranked and could use another confidence-boosting win for a team filled with newer players. As for the Spartans, winning the Wooden Legacy would mean another great accomplishment before December even started for a team that has national title aspirations.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 23 Xavier vs. Dayton, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

These two 6-0 teams from Ohio will meet in Orlando in the championship game of the AdvoCare Invitational. The Musketeers have six different players averaging at least 9.7 points per game this season as they’ve received great balance on the offensive end. As for Dayton, Charles Cooke as emerged as a go-to player early this season while guard Scoochie Smith has also been outstanding. This will be the first time these two schools have played since Feb. 16, 2013.


  • One of the fun teams to watch this week has been Monmouth and their amusing end-of-bench antics. On the floor, the Hawks knocked off Notre Dame and gave Dayton a scare and they’ll face USC for the second time this season to close out the AdvoCare Invitational. The Trojans won the first one 101-90, but this is a 12:30 p.m. EST tip, so that could benefit Monmouth the second time around.
  • Wisconsin visiting No. 7 Oklahoma is an intriguing Sunday matchup. The Badgers could certainly use a true road win here as they’re off to a 4-2 start. The Sooners get more of a real test after only playing Memphis as a notable opponent their first three games.
  • Also going on in the AdvoCare Invitational is No. 20 Wichita State facing Iowa and No. 17 Notre Dame battling Alabama. The Shockers are going without senior starters Fred Van Vleet and Anton Grady as they try to escape Orlando with a win. Notre Dame is hoping to close out the event strong after its surprising upset to Monmouth.
  • Action also continues in Anaheim at the Wooden Legacy as No. 11 Arizona will take on Boise State, while Boston College plays Santa Clara and UC Irvine faces Evansville. Arizona will look to get back on the right track after the close loss to Providence in the semifinals.
  • No. 6 Duke gets an afternoon tilt with Utah State at home before they face Indiana during the week. It’ll be interesting to see if Blue Devil freshman wing Brandon Ingram keeps his strong play going from earlier in the week.
  • UCLA returns home and could badly use a win against Cal State Northridge. The Bruins went a disappointing 1-2 in the Maui Invitational and need to get back on the right track before the face No. 1 Kentucky next week.


  • Brown vs. No. 25 SMU, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)


  • Jackson State at Marquette, 12:30 p.m.
  • Rider at Rhode Island, 1:00 p.m.
  • Savannah State at South Florida, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • South Carolina State at Kansas State, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Colorado at Colorado, 2:00 p.m. (PAC12)
  • UC Santa Barbara at Arizona State, 4:00 p.m. (PAC12)

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics