Edwards offers three keys to closing out games

First-year Wyoming men’s basketball coach Allen Edwards feels like his team is “right there” in terms of closing out and winning close games in conference play.

Allen Edwards

Allen Edwards

However, UW (13-7 overall, 3-4 Mountain West) isn’t there yet. Two of the Cowboys’ four conference losses were by single digits. But even in an 85-70 loss at Fresno State on Jan. 4, UW was close in the second half before things fell apart.

“We can’t continue to be just right here. Have to take the next step to get over the hump,” Edwards said.

Edwards on Monday listed three things he told his players they must do:

  1. Taking care ball.
  2. Don’t allow offensive rebounds.
  3. Positioning and execution on defense.

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Final MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here is my final Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings of the regular season.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com from games played through Sunday, Feb. 28. The MW is 12th in conference RPI, but the league now has three teams ranked in the top 100 after having just two for much of the season.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (21-8 overall, 14-2 MW, 58 RPI): An odd and unexpected collapse at home against Boise State that snapped a streak of 164 straight wins for the Aztecs when they led with five minutes left to play. Still the No. 1 team in the league, but perhaps more vulnerable now.

2. Fresno State (20-9 overall, 11-5 MW, 84 RPI): In second place alone in the conference, and has won eight of its last 10 games. Also has the longest winning streak in the league at four. I wouldn’t want to play this team in the MW Tournament, and the Bulldogs also are getting healthier from a physical aspect.

3. Boise State (19-10 overall, 10-6 MW, 82 RPI): An impressive come-from-behind  road win at Boise State without its best player, junior forward James Webb III, due a knee injury. Also made a big jump in the RPI after it was hovering around 100 last week.

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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.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com from games played through Sunday, Feb. 21. The MW is 11th in conference RPI. Three MW teams are ranked in top 100 in the RPI, and seven are ranked between 112 and 200 out of 351 Division I teams.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (20-7 overall, 13-1 MW, 50 RPI): Just one game for the Aztecs this past week, which may have been a good thing as it makes a push toward the postseason.  An interesting week ahead with games at Wyoming and at home against Boise State.

2. Fresno State (18-9, 9-5, 94 RPI): In a tie for second place in the MW, and the team that made the biggest jump in this week’s power rankings. A game at New Mexico Saturday will tell a lot about the Bulldogs this week, but they are a team that can win the MW Tournament.

3. New Mexico (16-11, 9-5, 116 RPI): An impressive come-from-behind  home win over Boise State was followed up by a disappointing road loss at Air Force. Fans in Albuquerque are not happy with this team and its coach.

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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 from games played through Sunday, Feb. 14. The MW fell from 11th to 12th in the RPI. Two MW teams are ranked in top 100 in the RPI, and seven are ranked between 112 and 172.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (19-7 overall, 12-1 MW, 49 RPI): Fresno State ruined the Aztecs’ chance of running the table in the conference, and that loss dropped its RPI from 43 last week to 49. But San Diego State remains atop the rankings for another week.

2. Boise State (17-9, 8-5, 93 RPI): The Broncos move up even though they lost (although statements from the MW two days afterwards confirmed they should have won due a video error) at Colorado State and ran all over Wyoming. The Broncos could be poised to go on a run as the season comes to a close.

3. New Mexico (15-10, 8-4, 118 RPI): A road loss at Utah State dropped the Lobos one spot, but they have a chance to climb back up as they host Boise State Wednesday. There isn’t a better one-two scoring tandem the league as sophomore guard Elijah Brown and junior forward Tim Williams.

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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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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week. Figuring out the third through eighth or ninth teams once again was a challenge.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. Only two MW teams have RPIs in the top 100, and seven are ranked between 112 and 176. As a league, the MW slipped a bit this week with a RPI of 12 out of 32 conferences. It has been at 11 the last few weeks. 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 (14-6 overall, 7-0 MW, 64 RPI): The Aztecs remain the only undefeated team in the MW, and have the league’s longest winning streak at seven. The team will be tested this week with two games in the state of Nevada.

2. Boise State (15-5, 6-1, 60 RPI): The Broncos are more like 1A in the rankings, but its three-point home loss to San Diego State on Jan.16 is the difference. They responded well with two double-digit wins this past week.

3. Nevada (12-7, 4-3, 112 RPI): Some thought I was nuts for having UNLV third last week, and many may think the same having the Wolf Pack this high. But remember, these are weekly power rankings, and Nevada earned the jump up with wins over Wyoming and UNLV last week. Do I think Nevada will finish third in the MW? No, but for now it earned the jump up the rankings.

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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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Adams firmly stands behind his teammates

On Jan. 4, Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams tweeted out — to paraphrase — that despite what critics have said, he wouldn’t trade his current group of teammates for anything.

Josh Adams

Josh Adams

Adams has been the undisputed leader of the Cowboys this season — on and off the floor. He leads the team in virtually every statistical category, and enters Wednesday’s game at San Jose State fourth in the nation in scoring at 24.8 points per game.

Adams scored a season-low 12 points in UW’s 59-57 home win over UNLV last Saturday. He did a lot of other things well in that game despite shooting 3 of 14 from the field and 1 of 7 from 3-point range. He had a game-high five assists, was 5 of 6 from the free-throw line and added two steals and two blocked shots.

Simply put, the Cowboys don’t win that game without Adams.

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