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.
- 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).
4. Colorado State (10-9, 3-3, 123 RPI): The Rams move up four spots from last week after a rare road sweep last week. All three of their conference wins have come on the road. This isn’t the most talented team in the MW but it is one of the toughest, which will provide opportunities to win in conference play. Games this week: vs. Air Force, 7 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. UNLV, 3 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).
5. Fresno State (13-6, 3-3, 137 RPI): A little surprised the Bulldogs are .500 in conference play based on their personnel and talent. Junior guard Deshon Taylor averages 18.9 points and shoots 44.5 percent from 3-point range, but the guy who needs to get more touches is sophomore forward Bryson Williams at 12.6 points per contest. Games this week: at San Diego State, 9 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU); at Air Force, 2 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
6. UNLV (13-4, 2-2, 156 RPI): The record is nice, but the only two conference wins so far are against San Jose State and Air Force. This team needs to show it can beat the upper-level teams in this league, or at least some in the middle of the pack. Games this week: vs. New Mexico, 8 p.m. Wednesday, (ESPN3 — online); at Colorado State, 3 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).
7. Wyoming (11-7, 2-3, 88 RPI): The Cowboys are reeling after losses last week to New Mexico and Colorado State. This team seems lost right now, and lacking toughness both mentally and physically. And, it is in the midst of its second and final bye in league play so the grind will set in fast. Game this week: at Utah State, 7 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).
8. Utah State (10-9, 3-3 166 RPI): Victories over Fresno State and UNLV were followed with losses to Colorado State and Nevada. The Aggies seem to be in the middle of the pack in most MW statistical categories, which makes it hard to get a gauge of how good or bad they are. Games this week: at Boise State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (Stadium/Facebook Live: vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online)
9. New Mexico (8-11, 3-3, 208 RPI): The Lobos will give team fits with their pressure defense, but the personnel is thin and lacking in size and talent. Teams better get New Mexico now because I don’t think this will last long looking ahead. Games this week: at UNLV, 8 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3); vs. San Diego State, 5 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).
10. Air Force (7-10, 1-4, 257 RPI): Picked up its first conference win last week at San Jose State. The Falcons have played some teams tough at home, and some younger players are starting to assert themselves. Games this week: at Colorado State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. Fresno State, 2 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
11. San Jose State (3-14, 0-6, 318 RPI): Hard to put a positive spin on the Spartans, but junior forward Ryan Welage is worth the price of admission as he averages 17.7 points per game. Game this week: vs. Nevada, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network).
This week’s picks (winners bolded)
Utah State at Boise State, 7 p.m.
Air Force at Colorado State, 7 p.m.
New Mexico at UNLV, 8 p.m.
Nevada at San Jose State, 8:30 p.m.
Fresno State at San Diego State, 9 p.m.
Fresno State at Air Force, 2 p.m.
UNLV at Colorado State, 3 p.m.
San Diego State at New Mexico, 5 p.m.
Wyoming at Utah State, 7 p.m.
Boise State at Nevada, 8 p.m.
Last week: 6-4
On the season (conference games only): 19-11