Career W-L record (NCAA appearances): 8-53 (0) Previous ranking: 10th
It’s unfair to say that all of San Jose State’s failures the past two years have been Jean Prioleau’s fault. However, his teams have notched a pair of 1-17 league records and have yet to show any signs of life. Every SJSU player to average double figures under Prioleau has transferred, and it seems to be almost impossible for this program to build any positive momentum. Former Spartan Brandon Clarke exploding into All-American and likely lottery pick status as a Gonzaga Bulldog is just further salt in the wound.
10) Niko Medved, Colorado State
Career W-L record (NCAA appearances): 91-108 (0) Previous ranking: 6th
I still fully expect Niko Medved to turn Colorado State in a top-half Mountain West squad within a year or two, but the early returns haven’t been all that great. Dave Pilipovich aside, Medved is the most experienced head coach in the conference without a tournament appearance. Even so, the Minnesota alum has a history of turning around programs, seeing a 14-win improvement at Furman over four seasons and guiding Drake to a 10-win boost in his sole season with the Bulldogs. Let’s see what he can do in year two with senior studs Nico Carvacho and Kris Martin.
Career W-L record (NCAA appearances): 51-52 (0) Previous ranking: 7th
The first two seasons of the Allen Edwards era in Laramie were, in large part, a solid success. The Cowboys won the CBI Tournament in ‘16-17 and followed it up with a 20-win ‘17-18 campaign. This past season was a nightmare, though, and easily one of the worst in program history. Athletic director Tom Burman has already addressed Edwards’ status moving forward, saying next season must be “significantly better.” Don’t expect things to be easier now that superstar Justin James has graduated. The pressure is on for Allen Edwards in Laramie. He probably has the hottest seat in the conference.
8) T.J. Otzelberger, UNLV
Career W-L record (NCAA appearances): 70-33 (2)
The first of two new head coaches in the state of Nevada this offseason, the ex-South Dakota State shot caller heads to Vegas after taking the Jackrabbits to two NCAA Tournaments and an NIT appearance in three years. The big questions now are whether his SDSU successes were mostly due to Mike Daum’s heroics and also how quickly he can assemble a formidable roster to compete with the league’s top tier. Serving under Lorenzo Romar, Fred Hoiberg and Steve Prohm before heading to South Dakota State, acquiring talent should not be an issue.
7) Dave Pilipovich, Air Force
Career W-L record (NCAA appearances): 98-131 (0) Previous ranking: 9th
On paper, Dave Pilipovich’s numbers don’t exactly pop off the page. It’s not a fair assessment, however, until you consider that Pilipovich has managed to field competitive teams in one of the nation’s strongest mid-major conferences at a service academy. The Falcons could be dangerously good next year as well. Only one player who recorded a start for the Mountain West’s sixth-place finisher this past season graduates this spring. Pilipovich recently inked a well-deserved extension and could be higher on this list a year from now.
6) Paul Weir, New Mexico
Career W-L record (NCAA appearances): 61-39 (1) Previous ranking: 3rd
What a bizarre calendar year in Albuquerque. A season after shocking the league by nearly picking up the league’s autobid in Weir’s first campaign, the Lobos completely collapsed in ‘18-19. By season’s end, New Mexico ranked 183rd and 202nd in offensive and defensive efficiency, respectively. Weir will have arguably the most talented roster in the MW next season, led by six players who were either four or five-star recruits. The problem with having that much talent, though, is that you are expected to win. If New Mexico flops again in ‘19-20, Weir’s seat will be scorching.