WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi rates all 10 Mountain West football and why. Look for his ratings on a weekly basis as the season continues.
1. Boise State (6-1 overall, 3-0 MW): The Broncos are No. 21 in the country and remain a solid No. 1 this week in the rankings. Boise State continues to be far and away the best defensive team in the MW. It’s tops in scoring defense (13.6 ppg), pass defense (158.7 ypg), total defense (316.9 ypg), turnover margin (+11) and pass efficiency defense (95.6). The offense isn’t bad by any means, but the defense outstanding.
2. Fresno State (5-3, 3-1): I said last week the Bulldogs are the most complete team in the league, and I stand by that. They’re second to Boise State in most defensive categories, and their spread offense can hurt you via the run and pass. This may be the most athletic and talented team in the league.
As you can see, Wyoming isn’t at the bottom anymore like it was in the past. Still, UW must find ways to increase that budget in the coming years. This isn’t something AD Tom Burman and his staff don’t already know.
Any thoughts or opinions on this? I found it interesting the two top schools — UNLV and New Mexico — are horrible in football at this point and time. Wonder what that all means down the road. You know a lot of those schools’ resources are going to basketball. … among other things. Will this change?
The Mountain West held a teleconference with its 10 football coaches Tuesday to talk about spring football and the upcoming season. For my story on that, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.
Here are a few things that didn’t make my story:
–Air Force returned this week from a trip to the White House to receive the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. It’s the second straight year and trip for the Falcons.
–Nevada coach Chris Ault enters his 27th year at the school, and has always called the plays and coached the quarterbacks. But this year he brought in former Nick Rolovich to coach the quarterbacks an impliment more of a run-and-shoot aspect to the Wolf Pack’s Pistol offense. Ault said one Rolovich, who was a quarterback at Hawaii, gets comfortable calling plays, he will hand that duty off to him.
For the second time in less than a week, Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and who covers UNLV men’s basketball answered five questions I had for him on Thursday’s game with Wyoming in the quarterfinals of the MW Tournament.
What was your take of last Saturday’s UNLV-Wyoming game and what surprised you the most about the outcome of the game? The Cowboys played well, the Rebels shot well as expected, and the officiating was awful. Two soccer flops by UNLV players drew key fouls on Leonard Washington and JayDee Luster. Sometimes officials act as if they get paid by the whistle. The game was choppy and ugly because of too many unnecessary foul calls. That did not surprise me, because I get used to seeing poor officiating, and the final score didn’t surprise me. But in reality it was closer than an 11-point game. Continue reading →
I have really enjoyed the comments and feedback on my weekly MW men’s basketball power rankings. Here’s what I got heading into this week’s MW Tournament.
1. No. 21 San Diego State (24-6, 10-4): The Aztecs won back-to-back road games at Boise State and TCU to capture the first seed in the conference tournament. Impressive late-season run by the Aztecs with only seven scholarship players that see playing time.
2. New Mexico (24-6, 10-4): The Lobos should have and did easily defeat Air Force and Boise State last week. This team isn’t far back from San Diego State, and this is the week their depth should help by having to win three games in three days to win the MW Tournament. I still think this is the team to beat in the tournament.
Wyoming was close to beating No. 17 UNLV here at the Thomas & Mack Center, but foul trouble, turnovers and missed shots late cost the Cowboys in a 74-63 loss Saturday night.
The 11-point loss matches UW’s most lopsided (if you consider 11 points lopsided) of the season.
The Cowboys have played the three best teams in the MW, San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV, to nine points, 10 points and 11 points on the road. The SDSU game went into overtime and UW beat UNLV in Laramie.
They are close to beating these teams. We will see how much closer Thursday when the Cowboys and Rebels play again in the quarterfinals of the MW Tournament at 9:30 p.m.
Here is my No. 1 key for the Wyoming men’s basketball team in tonight’s game at No. 17 UNLV:
Slow the pace: Wyoming has to dictate the tempo of the game and keep the score in the 60s or low 70s, like it did in its 68-66 victory over the Rebels in Laramie last month. That’s not easy to do against UNLV as it averages 83.5 points per game at home. But, the faster the pace the less chance UW has to win.
Can UW do this, and what do you think the biggest key is for the Cowboys?
For my other four keys, and more on the game see today’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.
Matt Youmans covers UNLV men’s basketball for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and he answered five questions I had for him about Saturday’s game with Wyoming.
What is the big difference between UNLV at home and on the road? The Rebels feed off the crowd at home and really excel in their transition offense. On the road, they are lackadaisical defensively, don’t run nearly as much and rely too much on 3-point shooting. This UNLV team does not defend or rebound that well, which is obviously a bad combination, especially on the road. The emphasis on 3s, with little interior offense, is the team’s fatal flaw. But the Rebels shoot so much better on their home floor, that helps every other aspect of their play.
Three teams tied for first, two teams tied for seventh and a mess in between.
That’s how the Mountain West men’s basketball standings look heading into the final week of the regular season.
“This conference is crazy. You have three teams tied for first when at the start of last week you didn’t think that was feasible,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said during Monday’s MW coach’s teleconference.
Here is my power rankings this week, and as always, would love to hear your feedback: