Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week, and there are some changes near the top.
RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. Only two MW teams have RPIs in the top 100, and eight are ranked between 121-193. As a league, the MW still has a RPI of 11 out of 32 conferences.
As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.
1. San Diego State (12-6 overall, 5-0 MW, 68 RPI): The Aztecs are the only undefeated team in league play after an impressive 56-53 road win at Boise State last Saturday. San Diego State has won seven straight conference road games going back to last season. It is showing why it was picked as the preseason favorite to win the MW.
2. Boise State (13-5, 4-1, 52 RPI): The loss to San Diego State snapped a 17-game home winning streak, and the Broncos were just 1 of 17 from 3-point range. Look for this team to bounce back, but for now, it drops from the top spot in these power rankings.
3. Utah State (10-7, 3-3, 129 RPI): After starting 0-3 in league play, the Aggies responded with two wins last week at home against Air Force and at Colorado State. Senior guard Chris Smith, the MW Player of the Week, averaged 27 points and nine rebounds in the two victories. Stiffer tests await this week with a home game with UNLV and a road game at San Diego State.
4. UNLV (11-7, 2-3, 121 RPI): Perhaps a coaching change was what the Runnin’ Rebels needed. They went 2-0 last week with interim coach Todd Simon with double-digit home wins over New Mexico and Air Force. Let’s see what UNLV does this week with road games at Utah State and Nevada.
5. Fresno State (12-6, 3-2, 132 RPI): Still a sneaky-good team that is big and physical. A home win over San Jose State was expected, but the Bulldogs play two road games this week at San Diego State and Air Force.
6. Nevada (10-7, 2-3, 143 RPI): The Wolf Pack’s only game last week was a seven-point loss at Boise State. It will have had a week to get ready to play at Wyoming Wednesday, a team it beat 71-68 at home on Jan. 2. A much more balanced team offensively.
7. Wyoming (10-9, 3-3, 164 RPI): Didn’t think a loss at San Jose State would move the Cowboys up last week, but they did after a 70-68 win at New Mexico — their first at The Pit since 2003. Senior guard Josh Adams broke out of his recent shooting slump with a career-high 38 points.
8. Colorado State (10-8, 2-3, 193 RPI): The Rams are 2-2 over their last four games, and those games were decided by a combined 13 points. including two by one point apiece. I still think the Rams are better than their ranking this week.
9. New Mexico (10-8, 3-2): Speaking of teams I think are better than their ranking, the Lobos are definitely one of them. But after a 3-0 league start, they lost to UNLV and Wyoming. I don’t expect New Mexico to stay here for long.
10. Air Force (10-8, 1-4, 177 RPI): The Falcons have lost four straight — all by 12 points or more. They are dangerously close to the basement in these rankings.
11. San Jose State (6-12, 1-4, 324 RPI): The home win over Wyoming is proof the Spartans are better, and despite a 71-64 loss at Fresno State they battled back after a 16-point halftime deficit. San Jose State will win more than one conference game this season.
This week’s picks (predicted winners in bold)
UNLV at Utah State, 7 p.m. MT (ESPN3 — online)
Fresno State at San Diego State, 9 p.m MT (ESPNU)
Colorado State at Air Force, 7 p.m. MT (ROOT)
San Jose State at Boise State, 7 p.m. MT (MW Network — online)
Nevada at Wyoming, 7 p.m. MT (MW Network — online)
Fresno State at Air Force, Noon MT (ROOT)
Boise State at Wyoming, 2 p.m. MT (ESPN3 — online)
New Mexico at San Jose State, 3 p.m. MT (MW Network — online)
Utah State at San Diego State, 4 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)
UNLV at Nevada, 8 p.m. MT (ESPNU)
Last week: 7-3
On the season: 22-7