MW men’s basketball power rankings entering the 4th week of conference play

Here are my weekly power rankings for Mountain West men’s basketball teams heading into this week’s games. Look for these rankings on a weekly basis throughout the conference season. RPI numbers are from NCAA.com as of Jan. 15.

  1. Nevada (16-3 overall, 5-0 MW, 16 RPI): Still the only undefeated team in conference play, and also the team with the longest winning streak in the conference at five. Depth remains an issue with this team, but so far it has made it work with its main players logging a lot of minutes. There will be a big test for the Wolf Pack this week. Games this week: at San Jose State, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU); vs. Boise State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).

2. Boise State (15-3, 5-1, 29 RPI): The Broncos bounced back well after their loss at Wyoming Jan. 6 with a road win at Fresno State and a home win over San Diego State in front of a sellout crowd. Senior guard Chandler Hutchison scored 44 points in the win over San Diego State and leads the conference in scoring at 19.8 points per game. The supporting cast around Hutchison is good, but also needs to be more consistent. Games this week: vs. Utah State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (Stadium/Facebook Live); at Nevada, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).

3. San Diego State (11-5, 3-2, 64 RPI): No shame in a close loss at Boise State last week. Like many MW teams, consistency is an issue night in and night out. The defense is the best in the MW in terms of points allowed per game, but veteran guys need to be better on offense. Games this week: vs. Fresno State, 9 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU); at New Mexico, 5 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).

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MW men’s basketball power rankings entering third week of conference play

Here are my weekly power rankings for Mountain West men’s basketball teams. Look for these rankings on a weekly basis throughout the conference season. RPI numbers are from NCAA.com as of Jan. 7.

1. Nevada (15-3 overall, 4-0 MW, 16 RPI): The lone undefeated team in conference play, and also the team with the longest winning streak in the conference at four. Not the deepest team in the MW, but probably the most talented. It will take a heck of an effort from any team in the league to beat the Wolf Pack. Game this week: vs. Utah State, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).

2. Boise State (13-3, 3-1, 45 RPI): Yeah, the Broncos lost in overtime at Wyoming last Saturday, but they stay No. 2 in these rankings because — to me — they are the most complete team in the conference with the best player in senior guard Chandler Hutchison. But Boise State has a big week ahead of it to stay in this spot, or possibly surpass Nevada. Games this week: at Fresno State, 9 p.m. Tuesday (ESPNU); vs. San Diego State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).

3. Wyoming (11-5, 2-1, 50 RPI): The Cowboys’ first three games in league play were against San Diego State, Nevada and Boise State, and they went 2-1 with both wins at home. Any team would take that. Wyoming must become more consistent across the board, and a leg injury to junior guard Justin James late in last Saturday’s game with Boise State is a concern. The Cowboys also are last in the MW in scoring defense (76.1 ppg). That has to change. Games this week: at New Mexico, 7 p.m. Wednesday (Stadium/Facebook Live); vs. Colorado State, 2 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network)

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my weekly power rankings for Mountain West men’s basketball teams entering the second week of conference play. Look for these rankings on a weekly basis throughout the conference season. RPI numbers are from NCAA.com as of Jan. 1.

1. Nevada (13-3, 2-0 MW, 22 RPI): Started conference play with an impressive win at Fresno State, followed by a surprisingly close win at home over New Mexico. Still a solid No. 1 in these rankings, but for the Wolf Pack to survive the rigors of conference play, it needs to get more out of its bench. Games this week: vs. Wyoming, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); at Air Force, noon Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).

2. Boise State (12-2, 2-0, 26 RPI): An impressive first weekend of conference play, including a road win at UNLV. Nevada may be a solid No. 1 in these rankings, but the Broncos are not far behind. Boise state averages an impressive 88 points per game. Games this week: vs. New Mexico, 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3 — online); at Wyoming, 6 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).

3. Wyoming (10-4, 1-0, 73 RPI): A nice home win over San Diego State to start conference play last week, and now the Cowboys face the two teams ahead of them in these rankings this week. We will learn a lot more about Wyoming this week. Games this week: at Nevada, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (CBS SportsNetwork); vs. Boise State, 6 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).

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MW men’s basketball power rankings as league play begins

It is time for conference play for Mountain West men’s basketball team, and also the debut of my weekly power rankings. Look for these rankings on a weekly basis throughout the conference season. RPI numbers are from NCAA.com as of Dec. 26.

1. Nevada (11-3, 23 RPI): A head-scratching loss at San Francisco to end its nonconference season, but the preseason league favorite and defending regular-season and conference tournament champion earns the top spot. The Wolf Pack will be tested in its MW opener at Fresno State Wednesday. Games this week: at Fresno State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3); vs. New Mexico, 3 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).

2. Boise State (10-2, 29 RPI): The Broncos got smoked at SMU in its final nonconference game, but also racked up some nice wins. Senior Chandler Hutchison is playing like the preseason MW Player of the Year, and the supporting cast around him also has played well. Perhaps the most important statistic is Boise State leads the league in scoring defense at 64.5 points per game. Games this week: vs. Colorado State, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (CBS SportsNetwork); at UNLV, 9 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).

3. San Diego State (8-3, 55 RPI): A two-point win at home over then No. 12 Gonzaga Dec. 21 was by far the conference’s best nonconference win. When this team is healthy, it may be the best team in the league. In coach Brian Dutcher’s first season, the Aztecs remain one of the better defensive teams in the country, but are pushing the tempo more offensively and average 78.3 points per game. Games this week: at Wyoming, 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3); vs. Utah State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3).

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FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Wyoming 37, Central Michigan 14 – postgame thoughts

Josh Allen returned — and later said goodbye — and the defense did what it has done best all season, and then some.

The end result was a convincing 37-14 Wyoming victory over Central Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Friday in front of an announced crowd of 16,512 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Not sure if there were that many there, but the majority of the fans there were cheering for the Cowboys — and they had a lot to cheer about.

Here is part of the team celebration after the game — in the snow.

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LIVE CHAT REPLAY: Wyoming defeats Central Michigan 37-14 in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Join me for my live chat from the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl as the University of Wyoming takes on Central Michigan.

The chat starts at 2 p.m., which is when the game is slated to start at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho.

For more coverage from this game, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Live Blog Wyoming vs. Central Michigan football live chat

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Pregame Primer

Are you ready for some football, as in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl football as Wyoming (7-5) takes on Central Michigan (8-4) at 2 p.m. Friday at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. The game will be televised on ESPN.

As I’ve done all season with every UW game, here is my No. 1 key for the Cowboys:

Josh Allen

Be offensive: Meaning that the Cowboys must show some consistency in moving the ball and scoring points. For the most part that has lacked against quality opponents this season. This doesn’t mean perfection, but Wyoming must limit the three-and-out possessions, try to be as balanced offensively as possible and finish drives with points. Yeah, a lot depends on who plays quarterback, but whether it is Josh Allen (who will start the game) or Nick Smith, UW must have plans in place for either one — or perhaps both — to succeed. Establishing a run game would be a big-time help. The Cowboys likely will lean on their defense like they have all season, but they need to lean more on the offense in this game.

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UW sports live chat replay – Dec. 21

Here’s the replay of my weekly live chat on University of Wyoming sports on Thursday, Dec. 21.

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Live Blog University of Wyoming sports live chat

2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: What’s your favorite style of potato?

We are one week away from the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl where Wyoming (7-5) takes on Central Michigan (8-4) at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise.

To have some fun, I asked several Wyoming players and a couple of staffers their favorite style of potato in honor of the name of this bowl game.

Senior fullback Drew Van Maanen: “Garlic mashed potatoes with a little pepper.”

Junior quarterback Josh Allen: “I am a big french fry guy, especially with a steak and put some A-1 sauce on the fires, It can’t be beat.”

UW Director of Player Personnel Justin Mesa: “When I was younger it was a big baked potato with about a pound of sour cream. Now, I’d go with sweet potato fries.”

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