A Mountain West men's basketball slate favorable in several ways for Air Force was released Monday. Here are some thoughts and observations:
- The Falcons will not travel to New Mexico for the second time in two seasons and will not host Fresno State (each MW team draws two teams it plays just once to keep the 11-team league’s schedule at 18). It is a break for Air Force to miss a trip to Albuquerque, as it has dropped 10 straight at The Pit. Dodging Fresno State also has to be considered a break for the Falcons, as the Bulldogs have finished in the conference’s top four in three consecutive years. However, Fresno State underwent a coaching change this offseason as Rodney Terry left for UTEP.
- The league schedule doesn’t begin until Jan. 2 next season, a shift backward from several years of beginning in late December. Depending on how Air Force opts to handle its non-conference schedule, this could permit the players to be given more rest during the holiday break than the minimal amount afforded at that time in recent seasons.
- Both of Air Force’s open dates in conference play fall in the second half of the season. For a team often bogged down by fatigue late in the year because of the demands outside of basketball, this will provide two chances to rest legs in February as the team aims to be at its best in March.
- The Falcons will ease into the travel demands of the season. A Jan. 6 trip to Utah State is the only out-of-state trip for the team over its first five conference games as it plays three of the five at home and goes to Colorado State in the other.
- From a spectator standpoint, a date to circle is Nevada’s trip to Clune Arena on March 6. The Wolf Pack figure to be a preseason top 10 pick and have Final Four aspirations with a loaded roster returning.
Air Force's 2018-19 Mountain West schedule
(Television assignments could slide games by a day or two)
Wed., Jan. 2: New Mexico at Air Force
Sat., Jan. 5: Air Force at Utah State
Wed., Jan. 9: Air Force at Colorado State
Sat., Jan., 12: San Diego State at Air Force
Wed., Jan. 16: UNLV at Air Force
Sat., Jan. 19: Air Force at Nevada
Wed., Jan. 23: Boise State at Air Force
Sat., Jan. 26: Air Force at San Jose State
Wed., Jan. 30: Air Force at San Diego State
Sat., Feb. 2: Colorado State at Air Force
Wed, Feb. 6: Wyoming at Air Force
Sat, Feb. 9: OPEN
Wed., Feb. 13: Air Force at UNLV
Sat., Feb. 16: Utah State at Air Force
Wed., Feb. 20: Air Force at Fresno State
Sat, Feb. 23: San Jose State at Air Force
Wed., Feb. 27: OPEN
Sat., March 2: Air Force at Wyoming
Wed., March 6: Nevada at Air Force
Sat., March 9: Air Force at Boise State