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.
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)
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. 21.
No. 23 Nevada (18-3 overall, 7-0 MW, 13 RPI): The winning streak is now seven games, and the Wolf Pack hold a two-game lead in the conference standings after a hard-fought wins over Boise State and San Jose State last week. An intriguing road game awaits Nevada. Game this week: at Wyoming, 9 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU).
2. Boise State (16-4, 6-2, 34 RPI): I’ve given the Broncos the benefit of the doubt after each of their two conference losses because they’re still one of the more complete teams in the MW. And based on the results around the league last week, I can’t see dropping them. Games this week: vs. San Jose State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (AT&T SportsNet); at Air Force, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU).
3. New Mexico (10-11, 5-3, 154 RPI): Huge jump for the Lobos, but they earned it with wins over UNLV and San Diego State last week. Not sure if they will stay this high, in fact, it is doubtful, but first-year coach Paul Weir and his players deserve some kudos for what they accomplished. Game this week: vs. Colorado State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).
It is time for conference play for Mountain West men’s basketball team, and also the debut of my weekly power rankings. Look for these rankings on a weekly basis throughout the conference season. RPI numbers are from NCAA.com as of Dec. 26.
1. Nevada (11-3, 23 RPI): A head-scratching loss at San Francisco to end its nonconference season, but the preseason league favorite and defending regular-season and conference tournament champion earns the top spot. The Wolf Pack will be tested in its MW opener at Fresno State Wednesday. Games this week: at Fresno State, 8 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3); vs. New Mexico, 3 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
2. Boise State (10-2, 29 RPI): The Broncos got smoked at SMU in its final nonconference game, but also racked up some nice wins. Senior Chandler Hutchison is playing like the preseason MW Player of the Year, and the supporting cast around him also has played well. Perhaps the most important statistic is Boise State leads the league in scoring defense at 64.5 points per game. Games this week: vs. Colorado State, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (CBS SportsNetwork); at UNLV, 9 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
3. San Diego State (8-3, 55 RPI): A two-point win at home over then No. 12 Gonzaga Dec. 21 was by far the conference’s best nonconference win. When this team is healthy, it may be the best team in the league. In coach Brian Dutcher’s first season, the Aztecs remain one of the better defensive teams in the country, but are pushing the tempo more offensively and average 78.3 points per game. Games this week: at Wyoming, 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN3); vs. Utah State, 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3).