Updated Mountain West Power Rankings
Colorado State holds the top spot
Another week has come and gone in the world of College Basketball. Here’s the rankings by the MW Wire staff:
1.) Colorado State (7-0) 108 points (8 first place votes)
Things looked murky momentarily on Saturday for the Rams, as Northern Colorado gave them all they can handle — the Bears lead by 69-59 with 10:28 remaining. From there on out, it was full steam ahead, instantly tying the game with 6:05 remaining — eventually winning 88-79. Star forward David Roddy continues looking the part of Mountain West player of the year. Currently, the Rams aren’t ranked in the AP Poll, but they ranked 31st based on the “receiving votes” section.
Next up, the Rams have an easier game against Little Rock before hosting Saint Mary’s on Saturday. Randy Bennett’s proven time & time again to be an elite College Basketball coach, with an experienced roster.
2.) Utah State (6-1) 93 points
Looking back on things, Utah State could easily be 7-0 if they didn’t lose to UC Davis opening night. A UC Davis team, who lost to Academy of Art (D2) last week, that’ll damper the Aggies NCAA Tournament resume. In two games last week — Utah State coasted to wins over UT-Arlington, and Carroll College. Senior forward Justin Bean still leads the team in scoring 22.6 points, and rebounds with 12.9 per game.
Utah State, similar to the higher ranked Colorado State faces an NCAA-Tournament caliber St Mary’s Gaels squad this week. Another litmus test for Ryan Odom in Year One.
3.) San Diego State (5-2) 87 points (1 first place vote)
Offensive struggles continue to hold back the Aztecs. The offensive unit currently ranks 112th in KenPom’s offensive efficiency rankings, while the defense ranks sixth nationally. The noted offensive struggles flared again, only scoring 43 points in the Wooden Legacy Title game against USC.
California transfer Matt Bradley only averages 13.2 points, on career-low efficiency markers of 38 percent overall and 18 percent from deep. The offense goes, as Bradley goes.
Oh by the way – San Diego State takes a long road trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan to face the Michigan Wolverines. A big opportunity for Brian Dutcher’s squad looking to add a signature win.
4.) Wyoming (6-0) 82 points (1 first place vote)
The Cowboys are the only unbeaten team in the conference aside from Colorado State. They bolstered their record to 6-0 following Monday’s victory road victory over Cal State Fullerton. There are very few better duo’s than Graham Ike (18 PPG, 9 RPG), and Hunter Maldonado (19.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 6.0 APG.) Both are playing at an All-Conference first team caliber, while making Wyoming look like an upper-tier Mountain West conference team.
Here’s what intrigues me — Ike is currently tabbed as the second highest-usage player in the country (per BartTorvik.) That’s interesting, considering the long-lineage of Linder lead teams shooting tons of threes. Well, not this season, only 36.7 percent of their shots come from outside, compared to 48 percent in Linder’s first season in Laramie. It appears getting Ike involved early-and-often greatly benefited Wyoming.
Wyoming faces the difficult three-game-week. They host Denver followed by McNeese State. Neither of which give too many troubles.
5.) Fresno State (5-1) 65 points
Coming in fifth place, Fresno State. The Bulldogs took their first loss of the season in Berkeley against California. However, it wasn’t a terrible week, as the Bulldogs knocked off a really good Santa Clara team in a neutral site game. 7-footer Orlando Robinson is the fourth-best scorer in the league, only behind Roddy, Bean, and New Mexico’s Jamal Mashburn Jr.
It’s worth noting Jermarl Baker Jr, a player expected to be a significant contributor hasn’t played in the past four games. Once Baker returns and gets clicking, Fresno State gets vastly better.
6.) UNLV (4-3) 48 Points
UNLV’s won four games, in each of those four they were favored to win. In their three losses, they were listed as underdogs to Wichita State, Michigan, and UCLA. For an upstart Runnin Rebels team with a handful of holdovers from last years team, winning the games you’re supposed to, while staying competitive in others is encouraging. UNLV got destroyed 73-51 by UCLA last weekend, only shooting 6-27 from deep. An issue that isn’t uncommon for UNLV.
Upcoming is a tough road test at SMU, where they’ll face Kendrick Davis, one of the best point guards in America.
7.) Boise State (3-4) 47 points
Boise State had the worst past week of any team in the Mountain West. Firstly, losing to Cal State-Bakersfield as double-digit favorites — the most concerning part? Scoring only 39 points in 40 minutes of game time. The Broncos went a ghastly 6-32 from deep, which often times won’t result in victories. Followed by losing in overtime to a solid Saint Louis team, but that brings Boise’s wins-loss-record to 3-4.
Part of the issue is Boise doesn’t have a Derrick Alston Jr type of option offensively. Sure, there’s solid contributors like Abu Kigab, and Emmanuel Akot, but not a 15+ point-per-game player. You hoped Devonaire Doutrive would blossom into the star role, but he’s averaging below 10 points on the season.
Boise has a good rebound opportunity on Saturday against Tulsa, who’s lose two of their past three games.
8.) Air Force (6-1) 46 points
The Falcons edge out Nevada for eighth place in this version of the Mountain West poll. It’s not even Conference Play yet, and Air Force already exceeded last years five wins total. The play of leading scorer A.J. Walker (18.8 points), while shooting 56 percent overall, 43 percent from deep. The positive side of things — others outside of Walker have added significant scoring contributions, namely Joseph Octave.
The Falcons won two close home games last week — against Denver and Idaho State. The next game comes against Army on December 4th at home.
9.) Nevada (4-4) 41 points
Robert Morris transfer A.J. Bramah was dismissed from the program last week during the tournament in South Dakota, which hurts the Wolf Pack’s depth. He was dismissed following the loss against South Dakota State, which gave Nevada a 1-4 record in five games. The next three games showed significant progress, beating George Mason, Washington, and Pepperdine by double-figures.
Grant Sherfield’s scored 23+ points during the three-game winning streak. Look, will Nevada be the ninth best team in the conference two weeks from now? Unlikely, there’s just too much talent.
A big test awaits on the road against North Texas. They’ll face Grant McCasland’s tough defense, and star scorer Tylor Perry. I’d imagine next week, Nevada makes a significant rise in the rankings, but the four loss total drops them.
10.) New Mexico 41 points
The voting took place prior to New Mexico playing their cross-town rivals New Mexico State on Tuesday. The Lobos shockingly won that battle, scoring over 100 points thanks to their backcourt tandem of Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. Winning that game was huge as Richard Pitino’s squad lost two consecutive games to UAB and Towson in Las Vegas during Feast Week.
New Mexico doesn’t play until next week, where they’ll host New Mexico State at the PIT.
11.) San Jose State 11 points
Props to Coach Tim Miles in his first season at San Jose State. The Spartans currently have a 3-3 record with two narrow losses to Stanford and Cal Baptist. Point guard Omari Moor leads the team with 16.0 points, and 4.2 assists despite turning the ball over nearly five times per-game. The stark difference in talent level from last years SJSU team to this years is noticable. There’s several former high-major players on the roster such as Ibrahima Diallo and Tibet Gorener, both making huge strides in their performances.
On Saturday, the Spartans could reach the four win mark on the season when they host North Dakota.
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