MW men’s basketball power rankings entering 8th week of conference play

Here are my weekly power rankings for Mountain West men’s basketball teams heading into this week’s games. RPI numbers are from NCAA.com for games through Feb. 12.

  1. No. 24 Nevada (21-5 overall, 10-2 MW, 15 RPI): Split last week’s games with UNLV and San Diego State, but maintained its national ranking and first place in the conference. What looked to be a serious foot injury to junior star Caleb Martin forced him to miss only one game. The margin of error depth-wise for Nevada is razor-thin, but it is still the best team in the MW. The game of the year in the league to this point is coming up. Games this week: at Boise State, 9 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU); at Utah State, 4 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network)

2. Boise State (20-5, 10-3, 37 RPI): The Broncos were in first place briefly after its come-from-behind win at New Mexico and Nevada’s loss to UNLV, but they gave it back to Nevada with a road loss at Utah State. Boise State can get back to the top spot Wednesday, and its NCAA Tournament at-large hopes may come down to it winning out until — at very least — the MW Tournament championship game. Games this week: vs. Nevada, 9 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU); vs. Air Force, noon Saturday (AT&T SportsNet)

3. Fresno State (17-8, 7-5, 94 RPI): Just one game last week, a home win over San Diego State. No one is playing better basketball right now than the Bulldogs, but they can’t afford a let down. Game this week: at San Jose State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); vs. Colorado State, 5 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online)

4. UNLV (18-7, 7-5, 117 RPI): Two good wins last week at Nevada and at home against Wyoming. The Rebels are formidable inside, led by true freshman star Brandon McCoy. More consistent guard play is needed, but UNLV can do some damage as the regular season winds down. Games this week: vs. Air Force, 8 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); at San Diego State, 2 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).

5. Wyoming (16-9, 7-5, 71 RPI): It has been a roller coaster ride this season, and last week was no different after a strong home win over Utah State and a brutal shooting night in a loss at UNLV. The entire league, aside from Nevada and Boise State, has had its ups and down, but the Cowboys have led the charge. Games this week: at San Diego State, 9 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. San Jose State, 2 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online)

6. Utah State (14-12, 7-6, 127 RPI): An impressive home win over Boise State last week. Size isn’t this team’s strength, and when it can get guys other than guards Koby McEwen and Sam Merrill to contribute, it can play with just about anyone in the conference. Games this week: at New Mexico, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); vs. Nevada, 4 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network)

7. New Mexico (12-14, 7-6, 181 RPI): A rough week after it practically gave away the game against Boise State last week, then lost at Air Force. Are the Lobos out gas? Perhaps just one game this week — and at home — will help them get re-energized Game this week: vs. Utah State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online)

8. San Diego State (13-10, 5-7, 131 RPI): Still tough to think the Aztecs are this far down, but the roster still has plenty of talent. And, they finish the regular season with four of six games at home, including two this week. Games this week: vs. Wyoming, 9 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. UNLV, 2 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network)

9. Air Force (10-13, 4-7, 236 RPI): Two home wins last week, which moved the Falcons up one spot from last week. Can they do it on the road? Games this week: at UNLV, 8 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); at Boise State, noon Saturday (AT&T SportsNet)

10. Colorado State (11-16, 4-10, 209 RPI): The Rams snapped a seven-game losing streak with a home win over San Jose State. However, their head coach and top assistant are on paid administrative leave, and players are boycotting practices. Two words — dumpster fire. Game this week: at Fresno State, 5 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online)

11. San Jose State (3-20, 0-12, 307 RPI): Will that elusive first conference win come this week? If so, it won’t be easy. Games this week: vs. Fresno State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); at Wyoming, 2 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online)

This week’s picks (winners bolded)

Wednesday

Utah State at New Mexico, 7 p.m.

Air Force at UNLV, 8 p.m.

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

Nevada at Boise State, 9 p.m.

Wyoming at San Diego State, 9 p.m.

Saturday

Air Force at Boise State, noon

UNLV at San Diego State, 2 p.m.

San Jose State at Wyoming, 2 p.m.

Nevada at Utah State, 4 p.m.

Colorado State at Fresno State, 5 p.m.

Last week: 7-3

For the season (conference games only): 44-24