MW men’s basketball power rankings entering 9th 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. 18.

  1. No. 20 Nevada (23-5 overall, 12-2 MW, 9 RPI): Winners of three straight, including road wins at Boise State and Utah State last week. A season-ending Achilles injury to junior point guard Lindsey Drew is big blow. It will be interesting to see who steps up in Drew’s absence. The Wolf Pack has a two-game lead in the loss column in conference standings with two weeks left in the regular season. Games this week: vs. San Jose State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3 — online); vs. Colorado State, 2 p.m. Sunday (CBS Sports Network)

2. Boise State (21-6, 11-4, 53 RPI): Still a solid second in these rankings, but the gap is closing. The Broncos have a toughness to them, but may have to fight to keep this ranking and their place in the league standings. Game this week: at Colorado State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3 — online)

3. Fresno State (19-8, 9-5, 96 RPI): The Bulldogs have the longest current winning streak in the conference at four, and may be playing the best basketball of any team in the conference right now. This is the team I thought we would see more often than not this season. Game this week: at UNLV, 8 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3 — online); vs. Wyoming, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU)

4. San Diego State (15-10, 7-7, 110 RPI): A big jump for the Aztecs (four spots) from last week, but they looked really good in two home wins over Wyoming and UNLV. If what we saw from this team last week continues, no one will want to play this squad. Games this week: at Air Force, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); at San Jose State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online)

5. UNLV (19-8, 8-6, 121 RPI): A 38-point loss at San Diego State last Saturday was a big surprise. Perhaps this is a little high for the Running’ Rebels this week, but everyone has a bad game once in a while. How this team responds this week will tell a lot about it, and its two games won’t be easy. Games this week: vs. Fresno State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3 — online); at New Mexico, noon Sunday (CBS Sports Network)

6. Wyoming (17-10, 8-6, 83 RPI): The Cowboys made a season-high 16 3-pointers against last-place San Jose State last week. They also fell behind at San Diego State by 23. I would like to move Wyoming higher, but still too many inconsistencies. Games this week: vs. New Mexico, 7 p.m. Tuesday (AT&T SportsNet); at Fresno State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU)

7. New Mexico (13-14, 8-6, 185 RPI): The Lobos have had nearly a week off entering this week, and they seem to be getting their full compliment of players back from various issues from injury to suspension. There is a logjam in the middle of the pack of the league standings, and New Mexico is one of those teams. Games this week: at Wyoming, 7 p.m. Tuesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. UNLV, noon Sunday (CBS SportsNetwork)

8. Utah State (14-14, 7-8, 138 RPI): An impressive home win over Boise State was followed up with losses to New Mexico and Nevada. The Aggies are a lot like Wyoming with their up and down play. Perhaps just one game this week will help Utah State start and upward trend. Game this week: at Air Force, 2 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online)

9. Air Force (10-15, 4-9, 235 RPI): Two wins were followed by two losses. The Falcons are back home for two games this week, where like most teams, they’ve played some pretty good basketball. Games this week: vs. San Diego State, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. Utah State, 2 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online)

10. Colorado State (11-17, 4-11, 215 RPI): After all that’s gone on, this season can’t end fast enough for the Rams, which seem to becoming less competitive as the weeks progress. Game this week: vs. Boise State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3 — online); at Nevada, 2 p.m. Sunday (CBS SportsNetwork)

11. San Jose State (3-22, 0-14, 307 RPI): I still like a few of the pieces on this team. Really pulling for the Spartans to get that elusive first conference win. Games this week: at Nevada, 8 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3 — online); vs. San Diego State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online)

This week’s picks (winners bolded)

Tuesday

New Mexico at Wyoming, 7 p.m.

Wednesday

Boise State at Colorado State, 7 p.m.

San Diego State at Air Force, 7:30 p.m.

San Jose State at Nevada, 8 p.m.

Fresno State at UNLV, 8 p.m.

Saturday

Utah State at Air Force, 2 p.m.

Wyoming at Fresno State, 8 p.m.

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

Sunday

UNLV at New Mexico, noon

Colorado State at Nevada, 2 p.m.

Last week: 9-1

For the season (conference games only): 53-25