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Air Force athletics notes: Mountain West basketball schedule ruffles feathers

January 28, 2013
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San Diego State coach Steve Fisher voiced his displeasure with the Mountain West’s decision to go with an 18-game league basketball schedule next year when conference membership will be at 11.

Each team will have two games against eight others in the league and just one game against two opponents that will be selected at random each year.

Fisher, who has coached in the league since its inception 14 years ago, wanted the league to adopt a 16-game schedule.

“I’ve watched the growth and the recognition and the national success of our conference and it has all been created by our initial ability to schedule and then beat programs from BCS conferences with big names and do it selectively,” Fisher said. “You put 18 games on the schedule it adds to the degree of difficulty to do that.

“I’m a strong advocate for the 16 games,” Fisher added. “There was no consultation from the coaches, I don’t think. I think this was made from others and I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich said his 2013-14 schedule is nearly complete. The Falcons already had commitments to play in a military tournament and will host Colorado, Richmond and UC-Riverside in return games after traveling this year. The team had hoped for a  game against a team from a major conference, but with only one more date to fill and with a team that will be young, it may opt instead to find anyone willing to come to Clune Arena.

Air Force women’s coach Andrea Williams said she would prefer to face everyone in the league twice, which would make it a 20-game league schedule, but that she’s fine with what the league’s athletic directors decided.

“There’s the good, the bad, the ugly, the indifferent – we’re just glad to know who’s in it,” Williams said. “We’ll deal with it.”


California road trip 

The Air Force women’s basketball team has a California swing this week with games at Fresno State on Wednesday and San Diego State on Saturday.

It didn’t make sense logistically to travel home between games, so they’ll make an extended trip of it.

“It’s always a good time,” coach Andrea Williams said. “You get to go to some different restaurants and have that down time, maybe eat a little long than you would in the hotel, so it’s nice.”

Unlike a trip to Iowa between semesters, there will be school work involved. Tutors and teachers will travel with the team and five or six hours of structured study hall are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.


Hot start for women’s tennis

The women’s tennis team is off to its first 4-0 start since 1999-2000 and topped Colorado over the weekend for the first time in school history, snapping a 13-match skid to the Buffaloes.

The secret to the Falcons’ success is no secret at all and can be tracked to its three seniors – Melissa Cecil, Hannah Dake and Christine Molina.

The Falcons are 53-31 over the past four years after going 10-17 the season before the trio arrived.


Torf named league’s goalie of the week

After allowing one goal in a two-game weekend sweep, junior Jason Torf was named the Atlantic Hockey Association goalie of the week.

Torf’s shutout of Robert Morris on Friday in a 2-0 victory was his second shutout of the season and ninth in his career. He made 30 saves Friday and stopped 28 of 29 shots Saturday as Air Force won 4-1.

The victories put Air Force into second place in the AHA.


Rankings don’t show respect

For all the national talk of respect for the Mountain West in men’s basketball, the national polls are not reflecting it.

Only New Mexico (No. 20 in The Associated Press, No. 22 in the USA Today/Coaches’ poll) and San Diego State (No. 22 in AP, No. 22 coaches’) cracked the top 25 in the rankings released Monday. UNLV received votes in both polls.

Contrast that with the RPI, which uses an unbiased formula based on strength of schedule and results, and the Mountain West had four teams in the top 30 – No. 7 New Mexico, No. 17 UNLV, No. 23 Colorado State and No. 29 San Diego State.

Clearly something about the conference doesn't translate through the eye test of the voters.

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