MW men’s basketball power rankings

We enter the third week of conference play, and while there wasn’t a lot of movement among the top teams in my power rankings, there was some among other teams.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com, and nine of the 11 MW teams have RPIs of between 100 and 181. As a league, the MW has an RPI of 11 out of 32 conferences.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. Boise State (12-4 overall, 3-0 MW, 49 RPI): The Broncos remain the top dog in the conference. They’ve won nine in a row. Junior forward James Webb III has won back-to-back MW Player of the Week honors, and three this season. Boise State made nearly a 30-point rise in the RPI from last week.

2. San Diego State (10-6, 3-0, 100 RPI): We will see this week if the Aztecs are worthy of being ranked this high with road games at Colorado State and Boise State.

3. New Mexico (10-6, 3-0, 116 RPI): A four-game losing streak prior to league play seems a distant memory after winning three straight to open league play. The defense has improved, which has led to better offense.

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Players weigh in on toughest places to play in MW men’s basketball

I caught up with players from all 11 Mountain West teams and asked them the toughest places to play in the league during MW Men’s Basketball Media Day in Las Vegas.

As you will see, no big surprises where some of the toughest places are, but it’s still fun to see some of the players’ reactions.

G Josh Adams, Sr., Wyoming: New Mexico. Packed house. Very loud. Their fans know everything about you, and they know basketball.”

G Marqueze Coleman, Sr., Nevada: San Diego State and New Mexico. The crowds there are incredible.

G/F Tyron Criswell, Sr., Nevada: San Diego State. Their student section was wild. You couldn’t hear anything. We had to coach ourselves.

G Joe De Ciman, Sr., Colorado State: The Pit at New Mexico. You walk down that ramp and that’s what college basketball is all about.

F Tiel Daniels, Sr. Colorado State: The Pit.

G/F Anthony Drmic, Sr., Boise State: Colorado State, Wyoming, Utah State. Especially Wyoming with the altitude. 

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UW-Nevada men’s basketball Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chris Murray, who covers Nevada men’s basketball for the Reno Gazette-Journal, on Tuesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

The game starts at 8 p.m. MT at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

Follow on Twitter: @MurrayRGJ

Chris Murray

Chris Murray

You reported that Nevada went to a four-guard lineup for much of its second-half rally in its overtime win over New Mexico Saturday. Is that something we could see a lot of in the game with Wyoming?

I asked coach David Carter that after the game. He said the move was largely a response to New Mexico using a zone defense and he wanted some players on the court who could make plays off the dribble and didn’t see this as a long-term change. However, if Wyoming goes small without Larry Nance Jr., I could see Nevada moving to the four-guard lineup because it was much more effective than the traditional lineup. Plus, Nevada is without two of its top three frontcourt players in Robyn Missa (knee; out the last five games) and Ronnie Stevens Jr. (leg; probably out for his career). So, it would make a lot of sense to see four guards out there, although Carter has no said as much.

 

Forward AJ West was plagued with foul trouble in the first half at Wyoming on Jan. 31, but played well in the second half. How big of a factor could he be against Wyoming since the Cowboys won’t have Nance?

AJ West

AJ West

West is the key to every Wolf Pack game. He’s the team’s best player and his ability to offensive rebound makes the Nevada offense somewhat competent. He struggled with fouls against Wyoming and struggled to get the ball as the Cowboys fronted him, which frustrated him. He did spark to life in the second half, but needs to play a complete game with Nance out. West said he was surprised at how good Derek Cooke Jr. was in the first game, so expect West to be prepared for a tough battle inside even with Nance out. Nevada’s frontcourt was dominated in the game between these teams last month, so they should be out for some revenge.

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UW-Nevada men’s hoops Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Dan Hinxman, who covers Nevada men’s basketball for the Reno Gazette-Journal about Saturday’s 4 p.m. game with the University of Wyoming at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.

Follow on Twitter: @danhinxmanRGJ

How big was Nevada’s 62-50 road win at San Jose State for the team’s confidence after an up and down nonconference part of its schedule?

It was really big simply because this team didn’t know what it had yet. A loss to SJSU, one of the bottom two or three teams in the Mountain West, would have fractured its already delicate confidence, especially with the return of power forward A.J. West. With all the issues Nevada has had this season with injuries and ineligible players, it, too, was a bottom two or three team. Beating the Spartans doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a bottom three team, but at least the players now know they’re better than that.

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