Mountain West Basketball Week 3: What We Learned

Mountain West Basketball Week 3: What We Learned

Mountain West Basketball

Mountain West Basketball Week 3: What We Learned

Mountain West Basketball Week 3: What We Learned


What we learned in the third week of Mountain West basketball


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Mountain West Basketball Week 3: What We Learned

The third week of Mountain West basketball is in the books. Here’s what we learned:

The league’s projected frontrunners all need to improve defensively

In large part, the top three teams in the Mountain West preseason poll (Nevada, San Diego State, and New Mexico) have all been hit-or-miss defensively in the early going this season. New Mexico has been especially concerning, failing to hold an opponent below one point-per-possession through its first four games, all of which were against sub-100 KenPom teams. Nevada’s offense has been stellar but has allowed more points than Eric Musselman would like (including 86 to Tulsa and 87 to UMass in the Las Vegas Invitational), and San Diego State was exposed in the Maui Invitational from the perimeter.

Fresno State and Utah State are looking like competitors

How about this for two of the Mountain West’s first-year head coaches? Justin Hutson has immediately made Fresno State competitive, going 2-2 in its challenging four-game road slate against TCU, Northwestern, Miami, and Hawaii. The Bulldogs will be in the Save Mart Center for their next seven games and could build some nice momentum heading into league play. Utah State, meanwhile, has surged towards the top of the Mountain West ladder early. USU’s only blemish to this point was a close loss to Arizona State in Vegas last week. Every other result has been a double-digit win. Watch out for both of these teams moving forward.

We’re about to find out a lot about UNLV

What are we supposed to make of the Runnin’ Rebels? UNLV laid an egg in the opener, a 50-point output against Loyola Marymount, a squad that is surprisingly undefeated at 7-0. Since then, Marvin Menzies’ group has been fairly locked in, racking up four consecutive wins.

UNLV hasn’t left Vegas yet, though, so one has to wonder if this is going to be a similar start to the season as last year. Next up on the slate for the Rebels is a MWC/MVC Challenge tangle with Valparaiso and a showdown with Cincinnati, and then UNLV hits the road a game against Illinois, a battle with Illinois at T-Mobile Arena, and then off to the islands to play Hawaii. A 2-2 stretch or better could solidify UNLV as legitimate.

Player of the Week: Caleb Martin, Nevada

Podcast recap of Feast Week and more:

Eli Boettger is the lead basketball writer at Mountain West Wire. He’s covered Mountain West basketball since 2015 and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, MSN, and other platforms. Boettger is a current USBWA member.

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