UW vs. San Diego St. hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Mark Zeigler, who covers San Diego State men’s basketball for the San Diego Union-Tribune, about Wednesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 8 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

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Mark Zeigler

Mark Zeigler

The Aztecs were picked to win the league in the preseason and they’ve shown why. Has this team played and performed like you thought? If not, what has been different?

I think they are now. They certainly weren’t in November and December, when they went 7-6 and lost three at home, including back-to-back games at Viejas Arena for the first time in 11 years. But this team was always going to take longer to coalesce because of its youth, with two freshmen starters and two sophomores in the rotation. If anything, most figured this team would be better offensively and a little worse defensively than last season. In reality, the two teams have been pretty alike — challenged on offense, nails on defense.

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Border War basketball Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Kelly Lyell, who covers Colorado State men’s basketball for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 2 p.m. MT at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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Kelly Lyell

Kelly Lyell

After the 72-59 loss at Utah State Wednesday the Rams have lost four of their last six. Are they a good indication of their record (14-12, 6-7 MW) or is his squad better than that?

They’re a good indication of their record on the season, better than half the teams they’ve played and worse than half. They’re capable of playing at a very high level at times, but not on a consistent enough basis to be a better-than-average team in the Mountain West this season.

In the loss to Utah State, Colorado State missed 18 of its last 20 3-pointers. Even though the Rams have been among the leaders in the MW in 3-point shooting this season, is this a team that lives and dies by the 3?

Very much so. The first thing the Rams do when they fall behind is try to shoot their way back into it from 3-point range. It’s worked enough times this season, too, that they keep trying that approach, even if it’s not necessarily the best way for them to get back into a game.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. The MW moved up from 12th to 11th in conference RPI. Two MW teams are ranked in top 100 in the RPI, and seven are ranked between 112 and 180.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (18-6 overall, 11-0 MW, 43 RPI): Another nice week for the Aztecs as they extended their winning streak to 11 games. It’s not always pretty offensively, but this group finds a way to get it done — especially defensively.

2. New Mexico (14-9, 7-3, 112 RPI): The Lobos split their two games last week, including an overtime loss at San Diego State which there is no shame in. They are still playing like the second-best team in the MW.

3. Boise State (16-8, 7-4, 86 RPI): The Broncos escaped with a home win over Utah State and lost at Air Force. Boise State is reeling a bit, but it stays near the top of the power rankings for now.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. Only two MW teams have RPIs in the top 100, and seven are ranked between 113 and 196. As a league, the MW still has an RPI of 12 out of 32 conferences. The Summit, Mid-American and Colonial leagues are currently ahead of the MW.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (16-6 overall, 9-0 MW, 47 RPI): An impressive week for the Aztecs with road wins over Nevada and UNLV. They have won nine in a row, and they shot less than 30 percent and still won at Nevada. If only this team was consistent on offense.

2. New Mexico (13-8, 6-2, 122 RPI): The Lobos moved into second place in the MW standings, as well to second in this week’s power rankings thanks in large part to their win at Boise State Saturday. We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs from New Mexico, but it has won four in a row.

3. Boise State (15-7, 6-3, 87 RPI): A tough week for a good team after losses at UNLV and at home to New Mexico. This didn’t do the league a lot of good, but the Broncos are still a veteran and solid group. It needs to bounce back Tuesday at home against Utah St.

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