Mountain West Basketball: Where Nothing Makes Any Sense
A comprehensive list of everything that doesn’t make sense about Mountain West basketball this season
What is up with the Mountain West?
- A media member picked Nevada third in the conference poll at media day, the only non-first place vote for the Wolf Pack.
- The Martin twins were 4-17 from the field on opening night, but Nevada still beat BYU 86-70.
- UMass scored 1.26 points per possession, got 30 points from its top shooter, went 20-25 from the free throw line, grabbed 15 offensive boards, and still lost to Nevada by 23.
- Loyola Chicago beat Nevada last year in the NCAA Tournament and didn’t even lead against the Wolf Pack at home in November, a 79-65 loss.
- Nevada trailed Arizona State by as many as 15, saw Caleb Martin go 1-10 from deep, was out-rebounded by nine boards and still came back to beat the Sun Devils.
- Grand Canyon also maintained a double-digit lead against the Wolf Pack (14-2) before eventually losing.
- Utah State’s only top 40 KenPom matchups so far this season: a 27-point win over Saint Mary’s and a 23-point loss to Nevada.
- Utah State signed Neemias Queta in late August out of Portugal. He ranks in the top 60 nationally in effective field goal percentage, defensive rebounding percentage, block percentage, and two-point percentage.
- Utah State’s Dwayne Brown started 33 of 34 games last season, averaging 9.0 points in 25.6 minutes per game. He hasn’t started a single time this season, and is averaging 9.1 points in 16.8 minutes per game.
- Nevada started the season 14-0, then lost by 27 points to New Mexico (which entered the game 6-6 against D-I opponents).
- New Mexico followed up the Nevada win with an 11-point loss to UNLV, a 15-point loss to Colorado State, and a 20-point loss to San Diego State.
- San Diego State has trailed by thirty points or more three times this season: down 35 to Duke, down 33 to Iowa State, down 34 to Brown.
- San Diego State beat Xavier after trailing by as many as 19 and also lost to Fresno State after leading by as many as 20.
- San Diego State is 200th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. SDSU’s defensive efficiency ranks since 2007: 30th, 28th, 4th, 5th, 7th, 13th, 44th, 2nd, 51st, 30th, 57th, 28th.
- San Jose State won two straight games in mid-December, followed it up with a 5-point loss to Stanford and 8-point loss to Cal on the road, and has lost the following six games by 30 points, 20 points, 39 points, 23 points, 18 points, and 38 points.
- Wyoming made one of its 26 first-half field goal attempts in its 76-53 loss to East Tennessee State.
- Only two players on Wyoming’s entire roster, Justin James and A.J. Banks, haven’t missed at least one game this season due to injury or suspension.
- Wyoming is 1-4 when Justin James logs at least 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.
- Colorado State has played 18 games, only seven of which have been decided by single digits.
- Boise State lost on a game-winning three-pointer to Nevada’s Cody Martin, a 22.8 percent three-point shooter who hadn’t made a three-pointer in exactly a month. The Broncos then lost to Fresno State at home by 10 and to Air Force by 14 on the road.
- UNLV started conference season 3-0 before allowing Air Force to score 106 points on 71 possessions in a 106-88 loss. The Falcons entered the game 281st in offensive efficiency and 311th in tempo.
- Fresno State’s only lead against Utah State in its 78-77 win over the Aggies was the final score. Utah State led by as many as 12. The Bulldogs also trailed San Diego State by 20 before coming back to win.
- Fresno State is 5-3 when Deshon Taylor scores 13 points or more, 6-0 when he scores 12 points or less, and 3-1 when he doesn’t play.
- New Mexico is 0-3 when Anthony Mathis attempts exactly 10 three-pointers, but 3-0 when he attempts more than 10.
- Nevada’s Caleb Martin is either tied or has a better statistical value than defending MWC Defensive Player of the Year Cody Martin in each of the following defensive statistics: steals per game, blocks per game, steal percentage, block percentage, and defensive rating.
- Nevada entered the season first nationally in projected adjusted offensive efficiency. The Wolf Pack now has a better adjusted defensive efficiency rank (22nd) than adjusted offensive efficiency rank (23rd).
- Four of the five players selected to the preseason Mountain West All-Conference Team have a lower field goal percentage than last season: Fresno State’s Deshon Taylor (down 0.7%), Nevada’s Cody Martin (down 4.0%), Nevada’s Caleb Martin (down 6.0%), and Wyoming’s Justin James (down 9.0%).
- Five of the first 32 Mountain West conference games have been decided by single digits. The MWC is 32nd among 32 conferences in KenPom’s close game percentage metric (three of 32 games decided by four points or less or overtime).
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.