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. 

“If you have a couple of road wins at the first turn you’re in good shape, if you don’t you need to find a couple. You lose ground when you lose at home,” TCU coach Jim Christian said.

No MW team finished the first half of league play with an undefeated road record. New Mexico was 3-1. UW and San Diego State were 2-1 and UNLV was 2-2. Half the teams (San Diego State, UNLV, Colorado State and TCU) went undefeated at home. Only Air Force and Boise State failed to win a home game.

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UNLV coach Dave Rice was complimentary of UW in its 68-66 win over his Rebels last Saturday in Laramie, which dropped them from 11th to 14th in the AP Poll this week.

Rice said one key for the Cowboys was turnovers. UNLV forces nearly 16 turnovers per game, but UW had only eight. UW continues to be the MW leader in turnover margin at +3.22 per game.

Rice also said Cowboys junior forward Leonard Washington was a big factor in the Cowboys’s success. Washington had 16 points but he made only 5 of 13 shots. But because Washington athleticism and quickness, Rice felt UNLV needed to pay more attention to him and that opened things up more for UW guard Luke Martinez and Francisco Cruz. He’s right as those two combined for 31 points.

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Going to do something new starting today and through the rest of the season. Here is my MW power poll and why I went with who I did. Would love your thoughts and feedback:

1. San Diego State (20-3, 6-1): The 6-1 conference record says it all. Wins over New Mexico and UNLV were impressive.

2. New Mexico (19-4, 5-2): Has won four in a row and only losses coming to two of the better teams in the league — San Diego State and UNLV. Freshman point guard Hugh Greenwood was hurt during those games, but is back now.

3. UNLV (21-4, 5-2): There isn’t much separation between one and three here, but Rebels need more of a sense of urgency on the road.

4. Wyoming (18-5, 4-3): Beating a nationally-ranked team like UNLV last Saturday vaulted the Cowboys up to here. Depth is still an issue, but this team is a grinder and finds ways to win.

5. Colorado State (15-7, 4-3): No road wins in league play yet, and four of seven down the stretch will be away from Fort Collins.

6. TCU: (13-9, 3-4): Like CSU, Frogs need to find ways to win on the road in league play. Been better than most thought so far this season.

7: Boise State: (10-12, 0-7): Nearly a dozen different starting lineups due to injury and other issues. Close games with UNLV and San Diego State are enough to keep it out of the cellar for now.

8. Air Force: (11-10, 1-6): After an impressive win at Boise State to open league play, things have gone downhill for the Falcons. Lopsided losses to New Mexico and CSU last week has this team reeling.

For more UW and Mountain West hoops news, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

 

23 thoughts on “Coaches like MW balance at midway point

  1. I like the power ratings. Goodness knows that ESPN certainly won’t stoop to making one for the MWC!

    Next year should be really interesting with Fresno and Nevada joining in. Nevada looks like a good team this year as well. Not sure what Fresno BBall is like offhand. This season has been a surprise for the conference, I am hoping that next season will be even better. And then the season after that we lose those other teams…

    I did read a fun article about how some writers in Utah are really missing MWC play with BYU and Utah now out. WCC and PAC-12 are just not giving them that same lovin feeling apparently.

    • Nevada will be good when it joins the MW, Fresno is struggling now but can be good and has been not that long ago.

      There are some good writers that cover Utah and BYU hoops. They’re good people. I know fans miss playing those two schools, espeically on the western side of the state where they get it from all angles with Utah news and TV.

      Thanks for the feedback Josh, I appreciate it!!

      RG

        • Should know something Tuesday. That’s what Shyatt told me Saturday after the game.

          RG

          • The total number of games he has missed is what? Nearly 10? Kind of reminds you of Boeudo and M’Baye with their academic suspensions.

          • It’s been eight games.

            Bouedo and M’Baye had more to do with amateurism issues back in France. This is an in-house thing at UW.

            RG

  2. As this season has unfolded, I have had UNLV and New Mexico reversed in my mind with UNLV between SDSU and UNM. New Mexico 0-2 against the two nationally ranked teams, so that makes UNM a solid #3 in my mind with some separation between #2 and #3. It is up to the Lobos to close that gap during the second turn through the season.

    Similarly, I am fairly strongly convinced that Boise State is a solid last until they prove they have what it takes to win a game in this conference. They are not in the WAC any longer. They do not even have a past history from prior years of winning Mountain West Conference games. They are 0 for History in the league.

    I also miss the Utah/BYU weekends during the conference season. They were part of what good conference basketball was all about. I still think that Nevada is a really good fit for the MWC in the long run. I am still not sold on Fresno State–as an athletic program or as an academic institution.

  3. Still don’t fully know or understand the reasons for Gilmore’s academic problems. Is their any chance of reversing some of UW’s wins because he played?

    • None of UW’s previous wins are in jeopardy. Had to do with one class and some sort of communication with the instructor.

      RG

    • Some fans have been speculating that he might be a candidate for CSU’s defensive coordinator job, but that’s all there is to it at this point. Don’t think there is anything there.

      RG

      • Hate to say this, but I know a coach who was one of CSU coaches from last yeat and he is now going somewhere else, he said that English called him and ask for some tips/ film for a talk he (English) is suppose to do….VERY sad to see Marty go……

  4. What happened to Hammerschmidt………did CSU retain him or did he go when Fairchild went?

    English knows Colorado Recruiting, which has done well for Wyoming. CSU needs to build it’s base in Colorado if they want the $$$$$$$$$.

    CSU will hire WYO guys in an effort to catch up:) Three Border War Victories in a row.

    • As far as I know Hammerschmidt wasn’t retained by CSU.

      Hate to see English go. Good coach, even better person.

      RG

  5. Hopefully Gilmore will be cleared today. I think it is crucial that the Pokes get him back for the homestretch of conference play, and the tourney. Any word on any other basketball recruits they are going after for this year’s class?

  6. Gags,

    ESPN has us listed on the bubble for the tournament in March. What do you think it will take for us in the remainder of conference play to land a spot?

    • Hold home court from here out out, beat UNLV, New Mexico and San Diego State (at least two of the three) on the road and probably get to the MW Tournament title game.

      RG

  7. Wondering how Shakir Smith looks in practice. Are the plans to redshift him? Is he more of a shooting guard? He seems small and would be better for the point. Let’s cross our fingers on Gilmore!

    • We are not allowed to watch practice, or the parts where you can really get a good look. Has played in 12 games so redshirting not an option at this point.

      RG

  8. Robert,
    Seems like we haven’t heard about Gilmore’s status yet. Do you know if he has been practicing with the team and would be ready to go for Saturday if he is cleared or has he been forced to sit out completely?

    • Been told Wyoming is still “going through the process” in waiting on a decision. I do beleive Gilmore has been able to practice. He dresses for home games, but doesn’t travel for away games. Don’t know how many minutes he would be ready for Saturday if he’s cleared, but I would imagine he would be ready for some.

      RG

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