Check Out The Week 1 Mountain West Basketball Report Cards
See which teams have the best grades in the first report card roundup of the 2017-18 season
Mountain West Basketball Report Cards
It was an eventful 10 days for the Mountain West. Week 1 report cards are below.
Air Force Falcons
Results: vs. Texas State (W, 65-57), vs. Canisius (W, 93-79)
The Academy has by far the lowest expectations of any MWC team this season, but it opened up the season with home wins over Texas State and Canisius. Over the first 80 minutes of the season, Air Force has hardly trailed, and all five starters scored in double figures in the Canisius victory. Trevor Lyons appears to be AFA’s best scoring option.
Boise State Broncos
Results: vs. Eastern Oregon (W, 104-65), vs. Southern Utah (W, 90-69), *vs. UTEP (W, 58-56), *vs. Illinois State (W, 82-64), *vs. Iowa State (L, 75-64)
Boise State nearly completed the Puerto Rico Tip-Off At Myrtle Beach sweep, but an injury to Chandler Hutchison in the first half set the Broncos in too deep of a hole to recover. Even so, Boise State bounced back from a 24-point deficit and had a chance to come within one possession of Iowa State in the final two minutes. Sophomore guard Alex Hobbs has been everything and more so far while Christian Sengfelder and Justinian Jessup might be the best perimeter-shooting duo in the conference.
Colorado State Rams
Results: vs. Sacramento State (W, 72-61), vs. Winthrop (W, 80-76), *vs. Tulane (L, 80-53), *vs. Florida State (L, 90-73)
I haven’t been too impressed by Colorado State in its first four games. CSU was relatively underwhelming in its home victories over Sacramento State and Winthrop. Then, down in Jamaica, Colorado State was throttled by a middle tier AAC squad in Tulane, trailing 22-4 right out of the gate. CSU’s fight against Florida State on Sunday was admirable, but every time the Rams came within a possession or tied the game, the Seminoles had an answer. Nico Carvacho (12.0 RPG) is certainly the real deal.
Fresno State Bulldogs
Results: vs. UC Santa Cruz (W, 96-65), vs. CSU Northridge (W, 89-73), at Arkansas (L, 83-75)
Fresno State’s offense is going to be a problem in the MWC this season. Sam Bittner, Deshon Taylor and Jahmel Taylor are a combined 25-43 from three-point range and four Bulldogs currently average double figures in points. The “x-factor” coming into the season was Bryson Williams, but he’s been excellent so far (17.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 24-30 from field). Fresno had some lapses in its road matchup with Arkansas, as expected. Next up for the Bulldogs is the Cancun Challenge where they will face Evansville and either George Mason and Louisiana Tech.
New Mexico Lobos
Results: vs. Northern New Mexico (W, 147-76), vs. Omaha (W, 103-71), at New Mexico State (L, 75-56)
If nothing else, New Mexico will be a sight to see this season. Paul Weir has immediately instilled his press and fast-paced offensive attack. It’s had its highs (outscoring Omaha 68-37 in the second half) and its lows (0.81 points per possession at New Mexico State), and that should continue throughout the year. Weir’s aggressive style should be enough to upset a few top five MWC teams this season. As long as UNM can frustrate opposing guards and control the pace, the Lobos will at least keep things interesting.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Results: vs. Idaho (W, 88-64), vs. Rhode Island (W, 88-81), at Santa Clara (W, 93-63), at Pacific (W, 89-74)
Nevada has been everything we’ve expected they would be in the preseason. Caleb and Cody Martin are fantastic (32.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 6.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 2.6 BPG combined), Kendall Stephens has showed off his range (9-21 from three-point range) and Hallice Cooke has been the most pleasant surprise on the team after already drilling a number of clutch baskets. Monday’s home win over Rhode Island wasn’t the prettiest, but it could pay massive dividends later in the season. Another undefeated week could place Nevada in the AP top 25.
San Diego State Aztecs
Results: vs. San Diego Christian (W, 91-52), at Arizona State (L, 90-68), vs. McNeese State (W, 83-52)
SDSU dismantled San Diego Christian and McNeese State (as they should), but the Arizona State game will go down as one of San Diego State’s worst performances in years. Brian Dutcher’s squad held a 40-34 advantage at the break, and then things completely unfolded in the second half. The Aztecs somehow allowed 56 points in the final 20 minutes, had two points over a near-eight minute span, and looked lifeless for much of the final period. SDSU’s top perimeter shooter, Max Montana, could be out up to a month with a knee hyperextension. As a result of its soft non-conference schedule, San Diego State’s at-large hopes were effectively dashed in Tempe.
San Jose State Spartans
Results: vs. Antelope Valley (W, 97-45), vs. San Diego (L, 81-64), at Southern Utah (L, 81-69), vs. Saint Mary’s (L, 79-61)
Rough start for the Spartans. SJSU thrashed Antelope Valley but has gone 0-3 since, having been outscored by an average margin of 15.7 points. No one expected Jean Prioleau’s first season to come with ease, and this rebuilding project is clearly going to take some time. Ryan Welage is far and away SJSU’s best player. The Spartans’ effort against nationally-ranked Saint Mary’s was impressive.
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
Results: vs. Florida A&M (W, 108-66), vs. Prairie View A&M (W, 98-63), vs. Eastern Washington (W, 91-76)
UNLV has been really, really impressive so far. The competition has been horrendous, but the Rebels have brought excitement back to the Thomas & Mack after a dismal 2016-17 season. Brandon McCoy looks the part of a five-star recruit (19.0/12.3/1.3) while Jovan Mooring and Shakur Juiston have packed some scoring punch to match. This squad could be really scary when they get out and run, which they did in its first three games. UNLV is a supremely athletic, high-energy bunch that has shown decent effort on defense as well. The competition will rev up fairly soon, but Rebel fans have to be pleased with the first week.
Utah State Aggies
Results: at Weber State (L, 65-59), vs. Montana State (W, 81-73), vs. Mississippi Valley State (W, 83-47), at Gonzaga (L, 79-66)
Utah State is only 2-2, but it’s about as good as 2-2 can look. The Aggies dropped its home opener to Weber State on the road, which is never an easy place to play. USU then followed it up with a victory over Montana State (holding future pro Tyler Hall to 5-17 from the floor) and crushed Mississippi Valley State by 36 points. Even without Koby McEwen, who’s currently nursing a banged up ankle, Utah State went back and forth with Gonzaga for 30 minutes in Spokane. It makes you wonder what the Aggies could have done with a fully-healthy roster, but, under the circumstances, Gonzaga could have beat Utah State by 30 and no one would have been surprised. JUCO transfer DeAngelo Isby (14.8 PPG, 55.6% 3P%) is going to be an excellent #3 guy on offense.
Results: vs. Chattanooga (W, 74-65), at Oregon State (W, 75-66)
Wyoming didn’t receive much pub in the preseason, as it rarely does, but the Cowboys are not a team anyone will want to face later in the year. Hayden Dalton was the player of the week (26.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 59.% 3P%) and could be a dark horse POY pick while Alan Herndon has made some big plays on both ends of the floor, and freshman Hunter Maldonado is an instant impact slasher for the Pokes. Justin James hasn’t come up huge in the first two games, and Wyoming has been just fine regardless. That’s a great sign for Allen Edwards’ team. A road win at Oregon State could be a building block for a special 2017-18 season.