Mountain West Basketball Power Rankings: Big picture coming into focus in a stop-and-go season

Mountain West Basketball Power Rankings: Big picture coming into focus in a stop-and-go season

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Mountain West Basketball Power Rankings: Big picture coming into focus in a stop-and-go season

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5. Colorado State (2-0*; 62 points)

* – The votes for this week’s Power Rankings were submitted before CSU’s game on Monday night, so that result is not reflected in the voting.

Colorado State’s inability to get onto the court over the first few weeks of the season didn’t really help or hurt their public perception; however, now that we’ve gotten a few glimpses of the Rams in action, preseason faith in this teams looks to be well-placed. After beating CSU Pueblo over the weekend in a tune-up game, Colorado State got their first official game of the season in on Monday against Northern Arizona. The usual suspects showed out for Niko Medved, with Isaiah Stevens leading the charge. The sophomore guard had 23 points and nine assists in the Rams’ 91-52 rout of NAU, while fellow second-year star David Roddy added 14 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Things are looking bright for Colorado State.

4. Nevada (5-2*; 80 points)

* – The votes for this week’s Power Rankings were submitted before Nevada’s game on Monday night, so that result is not reflected in the voting.

While Nevada’s drop is not completely their own fault, they did not do themselves any favors last week by beating a non-Division I opponent and then losing to Grand Canyon. Mind you, the Antelopes have looked good this season under new coach Bryce Drew and nearly knocked off a ranked Arizona State team. Still, if Nevada wants to be taken seriously as an at-large contender or a threat to win the Mountain West, a result like Saturday’s loss in Phoenix does not bode well. The Wolf Pack were able to turn things around with a win against San Diego on Monday Night, but the Toreros were within a basket with less than a minute to play. While the backcourt tandem of Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge does appear as though it will keep the Wolf Pack in the top half of the conference, a clear ceiling is starting to emerge for this team — and it may be lower than originally thought.

3. Wyoming (5-1; 87 points) ↑↑

One team whose ceiling only seems to be rising in Wyoming. The Cowboys faltered a bit in the earliest portion of the season, but the squad has rallied off four wins in a row under new head coach Jeff Linder. The team is getting wins, and perhaps that’s all that matters, but Wyoming struggled to put Utah Valley away on Saturday and have skated by in a few of their other wins. So, while the offensive awakening in Laramie is very, very refreshing, the team’s hot start should be approached with cautious optimism. But OK, if you really want to be excited about this team, then you can point to the quick development of young players like Marcus Williams and Kenny Foster joining forces with veterans like Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson. Nearly a reverse image from last year’s team, the offense is not the problem for this year’s squad under Linder; instead, Wyoming needs to shore up its defense in order to remain in the hunt for MW glory.

2. Boise State (4-1; 93 points)

The Broncos made a very bad first impression when they came out completely flat in their opener against Houston, but it’s been smooth sailing since then for Boise State. Last week, the Broncos registered two wins, including a 74-70 dazzler against BYU that included a massive three-pointer in the clutch from Emmanuel Akot. (It’s worth mentioning that Akot was not available to play against Houston.) On Sunday, Boise State continued its winning ways, beating Weber State handily. Derrick Alston has been somewhat inconsistent, but players like Akot, RayJ Dennis, and Abu Kigab are all stepping up offensively in support. It seems that Leon Rice’s team is starting to come together in the way that many predicted, as one of the clear top teams in the league. Now, the question is: Will they be content to coast to a silver medal? Or will they be able to contend with SDSU for the Mountain West crown?

1. No. 18 San Diego State (5-0; 110 points)

The arrow above may show that SDSU didn’t move this week, but that’s only because they’ve already established themselves as the team to beat in the Mountain West. Don’t be fooled, though: this team is absolutely on the rise. That trajectory was confirmed by AP voters on Monday, as they tabbed the Aztecs as the No. 18 team in the country after the team’s big win over Arizona State. Jordan Schakel and Nathan Mensah starred against the Sun Devils, who were ranked at the time, and helped register the second Pac-12 victory in as many tries for the Aztecs this season. This team has shown that it can compete on the national scale, and it will get two more marquee opportunities to do just that when they take on BYU and Saint Mary’s in the next seven days. If Brian Dutcher’s squad can win both of those games, watch out for talks of an undefeated season to be rekindled in San Diego.

Well, there you have it! Check back early next week for our updated MWW Power Rankings to see which teams are on the move!

In the meantime, connect with us on Twitter at @MWCwire and @andrewdieckhoff, and let us know how your Mountain West hoops rankings look right now!

Andrew Dieckhoff is a USBWA member writing about college basketball for Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and The DPI Gradebook presented by Heat Check CBB. Andy is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a graduate of Portland State University. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon. 

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