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. 29.
Nevada (18-4 overall, 7-1 MW, 15 RPI): Despite a one-point, double-overtime loss at Wyoming last week that ended a seven-game winning streak, the Wolf Pack stay at No. 1 in these rankings. Will be interesting to see how Nevada bounces back after the loss, and having a week off between games. Games this week: vs. Fresno State, 9 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); at Colorado State, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU).
2. Boise State (18-4, 8-2, 42 RPI): The Broncos took care of the bottom two teams in the conference last week. The team is battling an illness bug, but good teams fight through that. Perhaps having just one game this week will give Boise State a chance to get healthier. Game this week: vs. UNLV, 6 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).
3. New Mexico (11-11, 6-3, 148 RPI): The Lobos are tied with Wyoming for the longest current winning streak in the league at three. First-year coach Paul Weir is making a strong case for coach of the year accolades. Two road games await, which will be another test to see how far this team has come along. Games this week: at Utah State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); at San Jose State, 4 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
4. Wyoming (14-7, 5-3, 59 RPI): The Cowboys had to work overtime — literally — for two wins last week to extend their winning streak to three and get it back in the upper half of these rankings and the conference standings. Still seeing some glaring inconsistencies from this team, but as former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis used to say, “just win, baby.” Games this week: at Colorado State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. Fresno State, noon Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
5. Utah State (12-11, 5-5, 145 RPI): Bounced back from a four-game losing streak with two wins last week, including a road win at Fresno State. This can be a sneaky-good team. The Aggies have just one game this week, and it is a big one. Game this week: vs. New Mexico, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online).
6. Fresno State (15-7, 5-4, 129 RPI): Just when I thought the Bulldogs were getting things figured out and wold go on a run, it loses at home last Saturday to Utah State. Now, Fresno State must play two games this week — all on the road. Games this week: at Nevada, 9 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); at Wyoming, noon Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
7. UNLV (15-6, 4-4, 144 RPI): The Rebels got a much-needed home victory over San Diego State last Saturday. There is some nice talent on the Rebels’ roster, but like most teams in this conference, the challenge is to put it together night in and night out. Games this week: vs. San Jose State, 9 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); at Boise State, 6 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).
8 San Diego State (12-8, 4-5, 121 RPI): A tough loss at UNLV last Saturday, and an ankle injury to senior guard Trey Kell. Never thought I’d see or rank the Aztecs this low, but in this league, there is plenty of time to move up. Game this week: vs. Air Force, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN 3 — online).
9. Colorado State (10-13, 3-7, 172 RPI): The Rams have lost four in a row, and their top two scorers and guards — Prentiss Nixon and J.D. Paige — are out with injuries. Nixon could be back soon, but Paige is out for at least the next two to three weeks. Colorado State gets two home games this week, but it is 0-4 in league play there this season. Games this week: vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. Nevada, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU).
10. Air Force (8-12, 2-6, 243 RPI): The Falcons got their season back after the government shutdown, but any momentum they built prior to that has been squashed. Game this week: at San Diego State, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).
11. San Jose State (3-17, 0-9, 295 RPI): This team is going to beat somebody in the conference this season. I’ve said this before and I will say it again: junior forward Ryan Welage is worth the price of admission. Games this week: at UNLV, 9 p.m. MT Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. New Mexico, 4 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
This week’s picks (winners are bolded)
New Mexico at Utah State, 7 p.m.
Wyoming at Colorado State, 7 p.m.
Fresno State at Nevada, 9 p.m.
San Jose State at UNLV, 9 p.m.
Fresno State at Wyoming, Noon
New Mexico at San Jose State, 4 p.m.
Air Force at San Diego State, 6 p.m.
Nevada at Colorado State, 6 p.m.
UNLV at Boise State, 6 p.m.
Last week: 7-3
For the season (conference games only): 29-20