Seeding for RMAC tourney on line for Mavs
There are only a couple of givens entering the final week of the RMAC men’s basketball season: Metro State will be the overall No. 1 seed and three West Division teams will host first-round playoff games.
Which three teams will get those games, and what seeds the receive, won’t be determined until the final horn blows sometime around 10 on Saturday night.
New Mexico Highlands, Fort Lewis and Mesa State could snag those crucial home games.
Western State, though, is only one game behind. Shoot, between now and Saturday night, the lead in the RMAC West could change two or three times.
Fort Lewis (21-7, 13-5 RMAC) routed Adams State on Tuesday and wraps up its season Thursday night at Western New Mexico, so the Skyhawks will be watching to see what happens Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas, N.M., and Pueblo, where Mesa State and Western State play.
“We could tie for first, well, we could actually win it, but that would mean Highlands losing two and Fort Lewis would have to lose at Western (New Mexico),” Mesa State coach Jim Heaps said. “Realistically, we could tie or go anywhere down to fifth (overall).”
One more win secures a home game for the Mavs. Two wins could conceivably force a three-way tie for the West title, which would have RMAC officials getting out the calculators to determine seeds 2, 3 and 4, with points being awarded for wins and losses at home or on the road against teams above or below .500.
It’s been so close all season, why should the final weekend be any different?
The Mavs, who moved into the Central Region rankings this week at No. 9, have won nine of the past 10 games by doing the same things over and over and over — controlling the tempo, playing stingy defense and rebounding as a team.
Heaps doesn’t plan on changing anything as Mesa State (15-10, 12-5) plays at New Mexico highlands (19-6, 13-4) on Friday night and at CSU-Pueblo (12-13, 9-8) on Saturday.
“We’ve gotta go in and control the tempo and the pace of it,” he said. “(Highlands is) going to have a great crowd and be sky-high. As we’ve tried to do the last 10 games, we’ve got to make it a grind-it-out, slow-down, ugly, nasty defensive-type game. If we can do that, I think we can win. If we don’t, I don’t think we can. That’s the name of it right there.”
The Cowboys, who were 1-26 a year ago, will try to force the pace with its full-court pressure.
Mesa State (15-10, 12-5 RMAC) will be without senior guard Andre Carter this weekend, and possibly the rest of the season. Carter injured his right knee last Friday night against Fort Lewis when he landed awkwardly after leaping high for a rebound. What was originally thought to be a torn meniscus turned out to be that plus a dislocated kneecap.
After struggling to a 3-4 record against the RMAC East, the Mavericks figured things out about 30 minutes into their first game in the West, against CSU-Pueblo. Since then, there’s been only one hiccup, at Fort Lewis.
“Other teams, when adversity hits, they start to fragment,” Heaps said. “With our kids, adversity hit and they came together.
“I don’t even know if anything was said other than, ‘no, that’s not how we play. We compete.’
From that point on, you could see the belief in their eyes. When they go on the court, they think they should win.
“They want to compete for it. They won’t take no for an answer.”