Fresno State’s Mtn. West title could cost San Diego State an NCAA berth

Rodney Terry has Fresno State in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001 and got the edge in the final meeting of what has been a competitive season series with San Diego State. The Bulldogs are dancing with the Mountain West’s automatic bid, and now Steve Fisher and the Aztecs are in jeopardy of missing the tournament for the first time since 2009.

Fresno State lost in San Diego in overtime, then used a second half push to beat the Aztecs by one at home. Saturday night’s tournament final was just as close, coming down to some Julien Lewis free throws to seal the victory, which gives the two teams identical records at 25-9. The Bulldogs weren’t in Jerry Palm’s projected bracket, and now they are. San Diego State will sweat out the next 24 hours and the outlook doesn’t look good.

Fresno State got a tremendous performance from Marvelle Harris, the league MVP and tournament MVP, with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 25-9, 13-5 in Mountain West
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 2001 (lost to 1-seed Michigan State in the Round of 32)
  • Jerry Palm predicts:
  • RPI: 73
  • KenPom Ranking: 109
  • Sagarin Ranking: 106
  • Best wins: two victories vs. San Diego State, vs. Cal State Bakersfield
  • Worst Losses: at San Jose State, vs. Cal Poly
  • Notable stat: 6.0. Fresno State is one of the best in the country in taking care of the ball, turning it over on just 6.0 percent of its possessions, ranking first in the country according to KenPom.

Closing quip: Fresno State’s victory comes with the added impact of San Diego State potentially missing the NCAA Tournament, but don’t let that story overshadow the most successful season since Terry took over as head coach. Marvelle Harris is just having one of those runs right now and that’s a scary thing for any NCAA Tournament foe. Things were just working for Harris against San Diego State and there’s no apparent sign of that stopping anytime soon.

resno State's Marvelle Harris was the Mountain West Tournament MVP.(USATSI)
Fresno State’s Marvelle Harris was the Mountain West Tournament MVP. (USATSI)

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