Here are my weekly power rankings for Mountain West men’s basketball teams heading into this week’s games. RPI numbers are from NCAA.com as of Feb. 4.
- No. 23 Nevada (20-4 overall, 9-1 MW, 12 RPI): The Wolf Pack have bounced back well after a loss at Wyoming Jan. 24. Still not a deep team, but also still the best team in the conference. A couple of tough games this week, but they are at home. Games this week: vs. Nevada, 9 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. San Diego State, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).
2. Boise State (19-4, 9-2, 37 RPI): Coach Leon Rice has waded across the Boise River and rode a horse through campus to get people to Taco Bell Arena. It has worked, but he shouldn’t have to do these things because the Broncos are legit. A pair of challenging road games await the Broncos. Games this week: at New Mexico, 8 p.m. Tuesday (ESPNU); at Utah State, 7 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
3. New Mexico (12-12, 7-4, 160 RPI): A short-handed squad lost at Utah State and then struggled to win at San Jose State last week. Still, the Lobos remain in third place in the standings, and in these power rankings. Don’t think anyone saw this coming. Games this week: vs. Boise State, 8 p.m. Tuesday (ESPNU); at Air Force, 2 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).
4. Fresno State (16-8, 6-5, 102 RPI): A road split against Nevada and Wyoming is nothing to scoff at. The way the Bulldogs manhandled Wyoming was the way I thought this team would play all season. If it plays like that down the stretch it will be tough to beat. Game this week: vs. San Diego State, 9 p.m. Tuesday (CBS Sports Network).
5. Wyoming (15-8, 6-4, 66 RPI): Perhaps playing three straight overtime games caught up to the Cowboys in an 80-62 home loss to Fresno State this past Saturday. Based on how fans reacted, you would think this team hadn’t won a conference game this season. Yet, there is still a lot of ups and downs with this team so you never know what you will get night in and night out. Games this week: vs. Utah State, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); at UNLV, 6 p.m. Saturday, CBS Sports Network).
6. UNLV (16-7, 5-5, 150 RPI): The Rebels gave themselves a chance to win at Boise State last Saturday, but fell in overtime. Seems like this young and talented team is getting better each week, which is bad news for the rest of the conference. Games this week: at Nevada, 9 p.m. Wednesday (CBS Sports Network); vs. Wyoming, 6 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network).
7. Utah State (13-11, 6-5, 146 RPI): The Aggies are tied with Boise State for the longest current winning streak in the league at three. They only played one game last week, so will that rest be welcome or will it end their momentum? Games this week: at Wyoming, 7 p.m. Wednesday (MW Network — online); vs. Boise State, 7 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet).
8. San Diego State (12-8, 4-5, 126 RPI): The Aztecs took care of business in their lone game last week against Air Force at home. Now they play two tough road games that could define how they finish league play. Games this week: at Fresno State, 9 p.m. Tuesday (CBS Sports Network); at Nevada, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).
9. Colorado State (10-15, 3-9, 192 RPI): Losers of six straight and coach Larry Eustachy was put on administrative leave due to an ongoing internal investigation about his behavior to those in the program. The Rams play hard, and junior guard Prentiss Nixon is back from an ankle injury. But right now, the program is a dumpster fire. Games this week: at Air Force, 8 p.m. Tuesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. San Jose State 2 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).
10. Air Force (8-12, 2-6, 247 RPI): The Falcons have lost three in a row, but they get two games at home this week so maybe there is a chance to move up in these rankings. Games this week: vs. Colorado State, 8 p.m. Tuesday (AT&T SportsNet); vs. New Mexico (2 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3 — online).
11. San Jose State (3-19, 0-11, 301 RPI): The Spartans have lost their last three games by a combined 16 points. I stand by what I said last week in that this team will not go winless on conference play. Game this week: at Colorado State, 2 p.m. Saturday (MW Network — online).
This week’s picks (winners bolded)
Colorado State at Air Force, 8 p.m.
Boise State at New Mexico, 8 p.m.
San Diego State at Fresno State, 9 p.m.
Utah State at Wyoming, 7 p.m.
UNLV at Nevada, 9 p.m.
New Mexico at Air Force, 2 p.m.
San Jose State at Colorado State, 2 p.m.
Wyoming at UNLV, 6 p.m.
San Diego State at Nevada, 6 p.m.
Boise State at Utah State, 7 p.m.
Last week: 8-1
For the season (conference games only): 37-21