UW at UNLV men’s hoops Q&A

Here is my a question-and-answer session with Mark Anderson, who covers UNLV men’s basketball for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Tip off is at 6 p.m. MT at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

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How is the health status of UNLV going into this game? Who is out for sure, and how are guys like freshman forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. and senior point guard Jerome Seagears?

Still not great. I expect Zimmerman to finally play. He looked good in practice on Thursday, the sprained left knee apparently not giving him trouble. But Seagears (right heel) didn’t practice. It’s iffy whether he will play.

With the recent rash of injuries which players have stepped up their game, and who, in your opinion, need to as the season concludes?

I think all the players have done a good job of coming together and trying to elevate their play. Effort hasn’t been the issue. UNLV has played well at times, but in the second half at Boise State on Tuesday, the extra minutes caught up. I would like to see Patrick McCaw become more consistent. He has moments where he looks like the Mountain West’s best player and other times where you barely notice he’s on the court, but in his defense, he’s being asked to do a lot of things out of position.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week, and there are some changes near the top.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. Only two MW teams have RPIs in the top 100, and eight are ranked between 121-193. As a league, the MW still has a RPI of 11 out of 32 conferences.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (12-6 overall, 5-0 MW, 68 RPI): The Aztecs are the only undefeated team in league play after an impressive 56-53 road win at Boise State last Saturday. San Diego State has won seven straight conference road games going back to last season. It is showing why it was picked as the preseason favorite to win the MW.

2. Boise State (13-5, 4-1, 52 RPI): The loss to San Diego State snapped a 17-game home winning streak, and the Broncos were just 1 of 17 from 3-point range. Look for this team to bounce back, but for now, it drops from the top spot in these power rankings.

3. Utah State (10-7, 3-3, 129 RPI): After starting 0-3 in league play, the Aggies responded with two wins last week at home against Air Force and at Colorado State. Senior guard Chris Smith, the MW Player of the Week, averaged 27 points and nine rebounds in the two victories. Stiffer tests await this week with a home game with UNLV and a road game at San Diego State.

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