MW men’s basketball power rankings entering 7th 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 as of Feb. 4.

  1. No. 23 Nevada (20-4 overall, 9-1 MW, 12 RPI): The Wolf Pack have bounced back well after a loss at Wyoming Jan. 24. Still not a deep team, but also still the best team in the conference. A couple of tough games this week, but they are at home. Games this week: vs. Nevada, 9 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. San Diego State, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).

2. Boise State (19-4, 9-2, 37 RPI): Coach Leon Rice has waded across the Boise River and rode a horse through campus to get people to Taco Bell Arena. It has worked, but he shouldn’t have to do these things because the Broncos are legit. A pair of challenging road games await the Broncos. Games this week: at New Mexico, 8 p.m. Tuesday (ESPNU); at Utah State, 7 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).

3. New Mexico (12-12, 7-4, 160 RPI): A short-handed squad lost at Utah State and then struggled to win at San Jose State last week. Still, the Lobos remain in third place in the standings, and in these power rankings. Don’t think anyone saw this coming. Games this week: vs. Boise State, 8 p.m. Tuesday (ESPNU); at Air Force, 2 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).

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Coaches weigh in about keeping MW Tournament at Thomas & Mack Center

Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt spoke for a little more than 20 minutes Monday on behalf of the other 10 Mountain West men’s hoops coaches about the league’s decision to change the format of the MW Tournament to eight teams for both the men’s and women’s events starting in 2017.

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

In the past, and for the 2016 event, all teams were allowed to participate.

Here’s is Shyatt’s full statement from Monday. Quick hint, he didn’t hold anything back and needless to say, he wasn’t happy.

http://www.wyosports.net/shyatt-issues-statement-on-behalf-of-mw-hoops-coaches-on/article_642f6f4a-ad82-11e5-b81b-9bd0b26a88d4.html

The MW decision, which was released on Dec. 18, also included keeping the MW Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas — the home court for UNLV — through 2019.

UNLV has won three MW Tournament titles there, with the last one coming in 2008. The MW gets a good deal in terms of “rent” for the facility, which was the driving force to keeping it there.

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UW-Boise State men’s hoops Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Dave Southorn, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman about Saturday’s 7 p.m. game with the University of Wyoming at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Follow on Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

Expectations are high for Boise State based on returning most of its team from one that went to the NCAA Tournament last season. How have they managed those expectations?

One of the things that impressed me over the offseason was that they embraced the expectations, that they wanted to live up to them. Returning 92.4 percent of your scoring certainly helps, too. With that, they knew how hard it was just to simply get an at-large last season, so they know there are things like winning the games they’re expected to, and not going one-and-done at the MW tournament as examples of what needs to be done to perhaps meet those goals.

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UW-Boise State Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Brian Murphy, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman, about today’s Wyoming at Boise State men’s basketball game. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.

Question: Boise State lost its third close game to San Diego State dating back to last season on Wednesday night, how do you think the Broncos will respond coming home to play Wyoming?

Answer: The loss at San Diego State was a tough one, no doubt. It was a loose ball 3-pointer that led to their defeat. But Boise State has been able to bounce back well from losses, even close ones, and being back at home should certainly provide a boost.

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MW men’s basketball power ratings

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi ranks the nine Mountain West men’s basketball teams. Included are their records and Rating Percentage Index according to RealTimeRPI.com, and rankings are from The Associated Press poll. Look for these rankings every Tuesday during the conference season.

Let him know what you think about these first rankings heading into league play.

1. No. 15 San Diego State (14-2 overall, 2-0 MW, 29 RPI); The highest ranked team in the conference that won its first two league games despite guard Xavier Thames’ back troubles. The Aztecs won both of their games by a combined 10 points, but as stated last week, they remain the most complete team in the MW.

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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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UW-Boise State Q&A

Nick Jezierny covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman newspaper in Boise. He answered five questions on Saturday’s game with Wyoming.

As always, I welcome your thoughs and opinions.

Do you think the 77-72 overtime loss Wednesday to No. 12 UNLV will boost the Broncos’ confidence heading into Saturday’s game with Wyoming? More than anything, do you think the team will be tired coming off that overtime game? I would think that taking the No. 12 team in the country to overtime would be a confidence boost. Fatigue is going to be a factor. With only 10 healthy players, and only seven saw extensive minutes against UNLV, there could be some issue there. But this is a team that is well conditioned. What hurts is Wyoming had an extra day to recover from its past game.

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