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)

4. San Diego State (10-4, 2-1, 54 RPI): The Aztecs bounced back nicely after its MW-opening loss at Wyoming. This team seems to be finding its groove with first-year coach Brian Dutcher, but we will see come Saturday in a big road game. Games this week: vs. San Jose State, 9 p.m. Tuesday (CBS Sports Network); at Boise State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).

5. Utah State (10-7, 3-1, 147 RPI): The Aggies make a significant jump after beating Fresno State at home and winning at UNLV last week. Can the Aggies keep this up? Hard to say during the rigors of league play, but I think they put the league on notice that they are a team to be reckoned with. Games this week: vs. Colorado State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); at Nevada, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).

6. Fresno State (12-5, 2-2, 139 RPI): Splitting two games on the road last week is nothing to be ashamed about, but the loss at Utah State after the Bulldogs had a late lead may sting for a while. Fresno State is rewarded with its next two games at home. Games this week: vs. Boise State, 9 p.m. Tuesday (ESPNU); vs. New Mexico, 5 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).

7. UNLV (12-4, 1-2, 155 RPI): Some luster has worn off from the Rebels’ strong nonconference showing, capped by home loss to Utah State last Saturday. Still a talented team that is more than capable of winning night in and night out, but also a bit inconsistent. Game this week: at Air Force, 8 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet).

8. Colorado State (8-9, 1-3, 165 RPI): A rough week for the Rams as they lost two home games to San Diego State and Fresno State. The games were close, including overtime against Fresno State. Now, the Rams get two straight road games. Games this week: at Utah State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); at Wyoming, 2 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).

9. New Mexico (7-10, 2-2, 214 RPI): The 2-2 league start is solid, but those wins were against Air Force and San Jose State at home. Still a formidable team at home, but one that really struggles on the road. Games this week: vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m. Wednesday (Stadium/Facebook Live); at Fresno State, 5 p.m. (ESPN3 — online).

10. Air Force (6-9, 0-3, 245 RPI): I still think the Falcons will win some games in conference play. Come on, Air Force, don’t make me look like a bigger fool than I already am. Games this week: vs. UNLV, 8 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); at San Jose State, 3 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).

11. San Jose State (3-12, 0-4, 302 RPI): Junior forward Ryan Welage may be one of the best players on a bad team in the country. The Spartans took UNLV to overtime last week. San Jose State isn’t good, but is capable of winning if teams don’t play well. Games this week: at San Diego State, 9 p.m. Tuesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. Air Force, 3 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).

This week’s picks (winners bolded)

Tuesday

San Jose State at San Diego State, 9 p.m.

Boise State at Fresno State, 9 p.m.

Wednesday

Colorado State at Utah State, 7 p.m.

Wyoming at New Mexico, 7 p.m.

UNLV at Air Force, 8 p.m.

Saturday

Colorado State at Wyoming, 2 p.m.

Air Force at San Jose State, 3 p.m.

New Mexico at Fresno State, 5 p.m.

Utah State at Nevada, 6 p.m.

San Diego State at Boise State, 8 p.m.

Last week: 7-3

On the season: 13-7

4 thoughts on “MW men’s basketball power rankings entering third week of conference play

  1. Any thoughts on the bad blood between Boise State and Wyoming? We had the same stuff go down in Boise last year.

    • Hi Blake,

      I don’t really have a lot of thoughts because I wasn’t able to see all that happened. After the final buzzer sounded, I was typing away at my computer and when I looked up I saw a few people restraining a UW assistant coach who was REALLY upset. Someone else told me today that one of the graduate assistants had to be restrained, but I didn’t see that.
      From what coach Edwards said after the game, even though he didn’t see it but was going off what his staff told him, that it was a case of “poor losers” on the part of Boise State. I am sure there are two sides to the story and I don’t want to make a blanket statement about something like this where I didn’t fully see everything that happened. I am just glad it didn’t turn into an ugly incident because it certainly could have.
      I don’t know the Boise State assistants or their players, but I have gotten to know head coach Leon Rice a little bit over the years and he seems like a really good guy, and in my opinion, the best coach in the MW right now.
      I know the incident last year at Boise involved Dalton. He refused to comment on it at the time. Could be a rivalry or some bad blood brewing between the two programs.
      Not sure if this answers your questions, but appreciate your comment and interest.

      RG

  2. Listened to your comments on KFBC just now. I think you would be surprised how many read this blog. Many of us looking for that inside info.
    Your picks for WY this week are scaring me. To date you are 1-2 in conference play picks hope you got the touch this week 🧐😄

    • Thank you for the comment and positive feedback, Tommy. I really appreciate it.
      But if you’ve been following my picks over the years, you know by now I haven’t had the touch very much over the years, LOL. I hope I have the right touch this week.
      Thanks again,

      RG

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