MW men’s basketball power rankings entering the 5th 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. 21.

  1. No. 23 Nevada (18-3 overall, 7-0 MW, 13 RPI): The winning streak is now seven games, and the Wolf Pack hold a two-game lead in the conference standings after a hard-fought wins over Boise State and San Jose State last week. An intriguing road game awaits Nevada. Game this week: at Wyoming, 9 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU).

2. Boise State (16-4, 6-2, 34 RPI): I’ve given the Broncos the benefit of the doubt after each of their two conference losses because they’re still one of the more complete teams in the MW. And based on the results around the league last week, I can’t see dropping them. Games this week: vs. San Jose State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); at Air Force, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU).

3. New Mexico (10-11, 5-3, 154 RPI): Huge jump for the Lobos, but they earned it with wins over UNLV and San Diego State last week. Not sure if they will stay this high, in fact, it is doubtful, but first-year coach Paul Weir and his players deserve some kudos for what they accomplished. Game this week: vs. Colorado State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).

4. Fresno State (14-6, 4-3, 118 RPI): The Bulldogs showed the toughness and abilities I expected throughout this season after a road win at San Diego State last week. They got some extra time off after their game at Air Force was cancelled due to the government shutdown. Fresno State has a chance to go on a nice little run. Games this week: vs. UNLV, 9 p.m. Tuesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. Utah State, 5 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).

5. Wyoming (12-7, 3-3, 73 RPI): The Cowboys snapped a two-game skid with a rare road win at Utah State — a place they hadn’t won at since 1971. Let’s see if Wyoming can build off that this week, or revert back to up-and-down play that has plagued the entire conference. Games this week: vs. Nevada, 9 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU); at San Jose State, 3 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).

6. UNLV (14-5, 3-3, 167 RPI): Speaking of up-and-down play, the Rebels lost to New Mexico, but went on the road and won at Colorado State last week. Still not sure what to think about this team. But there is a fair amount of talent — that’s for sure. Games this week: at Fresno State, 9 p.m. Tuesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. San Diego State, 8 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).

7. Colorado State (10-11, 3-5, 161 RPI): Just as the Rams were trending up, they plummeted last week with two home losses. Not having junior guard, leading scorer and overall leader Prentiss Nixon (ankle) last Saturday against UNLV hurt (no pun intended). Colorado State is going to have to reach deep to get going again, and hope Nixon returns sooner than later. Games this week: at San Diego State, 9 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); at New Mexico, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).

8. San Diego State (11-7, 3-4, 121 RPI): The Aztecs also are trending downward after losses to Fresno State and New Mexico last week. First-year coach Brian Dutcher is finding out it is a lot different being the guy in charge as compared to the top assistant. Finding players to consistently play well also is an issue. Games this week: vs. Colorado State, 9 p.m. (CBS Sports Network); at UNLV, 8 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).

9. Utah State (10-11, 3-5, 174 RPI): The Aggies have lost four straight after a 3-1 start in league play. This is still a solid team, but needs more production and consistency from guys not named Koby McEwen and Sam Merrill. Games this week: vs. Air Force, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); at Fresno State, 5 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).

10. Air Force (8-10, 2-4, 234 RPI): The season came to a screeching halt thanks the government shutdown. Air Force’s home game with Fresno State last Saturday was cancelled, and all future game — for now — are as well. Too bad, but because after a road win at Colorado State last week the Falcons were showing some marked improvement. Games this week (if they are played): at Utah State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); vs. Boise State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU).

11. San Jose State (3-15, 0-7, 303 RPI): Give the Spartans credit — they are still playing hard. I predict they won’t go winless in league play, but that’s the best I can do for now. Games this week: at Boise State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. Wyoming, 3 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).

This week’s picks (winners are bolded)

Tuesday

UNLV at Fresno State, 9 p.m.

Wednesday

Air Force at Utah State, 7 p.m.

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

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

Nevada at Wyoming, 9 p.m

Saturday

Wyoming at San Jose State, 3 p.m.

Utah State at Fresno State, 5 p.m.

San Diego State at UNLV, 8 p.m.

Boise State at Air Force, 8 p.m.

Colorado State at New Mexico, 8 p.m.

Last week: 3-6 (ouch!!)

For the season (conference games only): 22-17