Mountain West Basketball: Week 6 DPI Computer Rankings
San Diego State takes over, Nevada takes a big step
Aztecs the league’s new #1 after close call
Earlier than ever, the Mountain West basketball season has officially started. And just as quickly, it’s back on hold as teams gear up to finish their out-of-conference schedules.
But even if it was just one week, there was plenty of intrigue.
We had some overtime games, including one team who played three extra periods during the week. We had a few teams finally wake up from their long hibernation, while others still looked very much asleep.
And then of course, we had Malachi Flynn coming up in the clutch and ensuring that the league stays represented in the national polls.
The coming week will be light duty for most of the teams around the Mountain West, but there are still a few games to keep an eye on, including two tussles with BYU and some dates with the Pac-12.
So, as we embark further down the road of the 2019-20 campaign, let’s stop and take a look where the Mountain West teams stand heading into Week 6. I’ve provided some graphics that will hopefully give some context for the relative strengths and weaknesses of each team.
The rankings below reflect games played through Monday, December 9. For a rundown of how these rankings are calculated, head over to DPI Hoops. You can also find rankings for all 353 Division I teams.
(Note: Games against non-Div. I opponents are not counted in the DPI.)
#1 — SAN DIEGO STATE
The Aztecs have taken over the top spot from Utah State, but they were just a few centimeters away from major disappointment on Sunday against San Jose State. Thankfully, Flynn’s last-second bomb found the bottom of the net and sent San Diego State to a perfect 10-0 record and a spot in the Top 25.
#2 — UTAH STATE
Even though they managed to win both of their games, the Aggies were ousted from the national polls on Monday while the Aztecs took their spot. Utah State could be on the brink of an absolute game-changer, though, with star big man Neemias Queta returning to action after a knee injury.
#3 — NEVADA
The Wolf Pack had a fantastic week and are looking more and more like they could separate themselves from the logjam in the middle of the Mountain West and settle into the #3 spot behind Utah State and SDSU. Jalen Harris, in particular, has been playing out of his mind. Five straight for Nevada.
#4 — NEW MEXICO
It wasn’t always a sure thing, but the Lobos managed to jump out to an early 2-0 mark in the Mountain West. New Mexico survived a boxing match against Boise State that went down to the wire, before dispatching Wyoming with ease in Laramie. JaQuan Lyle looks to have found his home in ABQ.
#5 — COLORADO STATE
For now at least, the Rams continue to surprise by sitting atop the logjam of teams behind the league’s top four. Nico Carvacho continues to impress, but Colorado State went 0-for-2 on the week, losing to San Diego State and Boise State. Those same Broncos are hot on their tail.
#6 — BOISE STATE
Thankfully for Leon Rice, his star shooter Justinian Jessup has finally woken up from his long slumber. Derrick Alston Jr. and RJ Williams have done an admirable job holding up the load, but the Broncos need to be firing on all cylinders to catch up to the league’s top four teams.
#7 — WYOMING
The Cowboys remain relatively high in the polls, but they are starting to slide backward. Losses to Air Force and New Mexico this past week certainly didn’t do them any favors. Hunter Maldonado might be deserving of all-MWC honors down the line, but this team as a whole is lacking.
#8 — AIR FORCE
The Falcons’ defense has been one of the worst in the nation to start the year, but the offense has been quite good. Those traits were on full display this week, as Air Force allowed both Wyoming and Nevada to set season-high scoring marks while generating an 85.5 points per game of their own.
#9 — UNLV
It took two overtimes, but the Rebels opened their Mountain West season with a win over Fresno State. Unfortunately, they must have used up all of their good karma, because they got absolutely flattened by BYU in Salt Lake City. Turnovers continue to haunt T.J. Otzelberger’s club.
#10 — FRESNO STATE
It’s hard to imagine a more hard-luck team than Fresno State. (Actually, we’ll reconsider that in a moment.) The Bulldogs played three periods of extra time against UNLV and Utah State, but came away with nothing to show for it. Quickly approaching a nightmare scenario in Fresno.
#11 — SAN JOSE STATE
OK, so maybe the Spartans’ bad luck can compete with Fresno State’s. San Jose State hung with Utah State for twenty minutes before giving up the ghost. Then on Sunday, despite the efforts of leading scorer Seneca Knight, the Spartans came up infinitesimally short against SDSU.
That’s it for this week, folks! Check back next week for another round of Mountain West DPI rankings.
Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.