MW men’s power rankings

I have really enjoyed the comments and feedback on my weekly MW men’s basketball power rankings. Here’s what I got heading into this week’s MW Tournament.

1. No. 21 San Diego State (24-6, 10-4): The Aztecs won back-to-back road games at Boise State and TCU to capture the first seed in the conference tournament. Impressive late-season run by the Aztecs with only seven scholarship players that see playing time.

2. New Mexico (24-6, 10-4): The Lobos should have and did easily defeat Air Force and Boise State last week. This team isn’t far back from San Diego State, and this is the week their depth should help by having to win three games in three days to win the MW Tournament. I still think this is the team to beat in the tournament.

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MW men’s power ratings

Three teams tied for first, two teams tied for seventh and a mess in between.

That’s how the Mountain West men’s basketball standings look heading into the final week of the regular season.

“This conference is crazy. You have three teams tied for first when at the start of last week you didn’t think that was feasible,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said during Monday’s MW coach’s teleconference.

Here is my power rankings this week, and as always, would love to hear your feedback:

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UW-Air Force postgame thoughts

Can’t sugar-coat this one folks, this was Wyoming’s worst loss of the season so far.

A 12-2 start and 24-10 first-half lead evaporated and turned into a 58-53 home loss to Air Force, which fired its coach last week and had lost seven straight games.

“We did not have an urgency, we didn’t not have a connectedness and we didn’t’t have an energy. There was no energy in the building,” coach Larry Shyatt said.

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Gilmore cleared to play by NCAA

Here’s is the release from Wyoming on junior point guard Derrious Gilmore cleared to play immediately:

Derrious Gilmore Cleared to Play by NCAA

Laramie – University of Wyoming head basketball coach Larry Shyatt announced on Wednesday that junior guard Derrious Gilmore has been cleared to play by the NCAA beginning immediately.  Gilmore’s academic eligibility was reinstated by the NCAA through an appeal process.  The NCAA notified the University of Wyoming Athletics Department that Gilmore’s appeal was granted late Tuesday.

Gilmore was ruled academically ineligible to play in games, beginning with Wyoming’s home game versus Idaho State on Jan. 9.  He was allowed to continue to practice with the Cowboys, per NCAA rules, as he continued his education at the University of Wyoming.  He missed the last nine games for the Cowboys.

Gilmore played in Wyoming’s first 15 games of the season, starting one game versus Northern Colorado on Nov. 15.  He is averaging 4.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Definitely good news for Wyoming. Thoughts, opinions? Will be curious how much he plays tonight against Air Force. Since he’s still been allowed to practice, perhaps it will be double-digit minutes?

UW-Air Force key to the game

My top key for the Wyoming men’s basketball team in tonight’s home game with Air Force:

Go inside: Meaning junior forward Leonard Washington and senior center Adam Waddell get off to good starts offensively and bounce back from a combined 7 of 27 shooting performance in last Saturday’s 48-38 loss at New Mexico.

Yes, no or do you think this is as crazy as my MW power poll for the week?

For more keys to the game and a little more detail on defensive play of UW junior guard Luke Martinez, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

 

UW-Air Force Q&A swap

As he has during football season and prior to the first Air Force-Wyoming men’s basketball game last month, Frank Schwab of the Colorado Springs Gazette agreed to do a Q&A swap with me about Wednesday’s game in Laramie.

First are my questions and Frank’s answers, followed by Frank’s questions and my answers.

Let me know what you think.

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MW, CUSA to form new conference

Here is the news release from the Mountain West on the forming of a new conference with Conference USA:

UNIVERSITIES ANNOUNCE PLANS TO FORM CONFERENCE

DALLAS, Texas – Presidents and chancellors from 16 universities met in Dallas Sunday to discuss future conference membership plans and agreed to work on forming a new intercollegiate athletic association that would begin competition in the 2013-14 academic year.

This presidentially led association will ensure stability and be built upon the principles of operating at the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship, enhancing the student-athlete academic and competitive experience, bringing fiscal discipline into athletics and ensuring competitive fairness.

“This is an exciting development that will stabilize the current conferences and create the first truly national conference with members in five time zones and television viewership from coast to coast.  This partnership brings together like-minded institutions to improve the integrity and stability of intercollegiate athletics,” said UNLV President Neal Smatresk. “We are moving our plans forward rapidly and expect to complete our conversations in the near future. Look for further announcements soon as we work together on this exciting new venture.”

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Shyatt has high priase for Martinez

Wyoming junior guard Luke Martinez leads the Mountain West with 64 3-pointers, and is the Cowboys’ leading scorer at 13 points per game.

Coach Larry Shyatt likes that, but likes something even more about the 6-foot-4 Martinez.

His defense.

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Coaches like MW balance at midway point

The second half of Mountain West play begins Saturday for the league’s eight men’s basketball teams, and the eight coaches have been impressed with what the league has done so far.

“You don’t see a huge separation,” said San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, whose team is ranked 13th nationally and is in first place in the MW at 20-3 overall and 6-1 in the league.

“Even though a team like Boise State has yet to win (a league game), they’ve without any reservation could e 3-4 or 4-3 with a blink of an eye. That’s good.”

Boise State lost to at San Diego State by two last week, and at home to No. 14 UNLV in overtime. 

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