Week 4 Mountain West Basketball Rankings
Colorado State holds the top spot once again:
Another week of College Basketball in the books, which means another week of Mountain West conference rankings by ten Mountain West Wire staff members.
1.) Colorado State (9) First Place Votes – 109 points:
The Rams avenged their awful performance against St Mary’s last season, beating the Gaels 74-58, never facing real pressure. Marking another successful week for the Rams from Fort Collins, they fell just shy of AP Poll ranking, coming in 26th place behind LSU. Expect Colorado State to creep into the AP Poll rankings if they can beat Mississippi State in Fort Worth this weekend. The Bulldogs boast a frontcourt featuring two 6-foot-10 forwards, Garrison Brooks and Tolu Smith, paired with dynamic guard Iverson Molinar. Mississippi State doesn’t have the shooting chops CSU does, but nobody does in reality. Niko Medved’s squad leads the country shooting 44 percent from deep.
— Colorado State Men’s Basketball (@CSUMBasketball) December 7, 2021
2.) Wyoming (1) First Place vote – 91 points:
Year two of the Jeff Linder era in Laramie couldn’t be off to a better start. Even the NCAA’s newly released NET rankings feature the Cowboys 12th nationally! Now, that doesn’t mean Wyoming’s the 12th best team in the country, but they’ve performed like the second-best Mountain West team, as their unblemished record attests.
That record could soon change — Wednesday, Wyoming heads to Tucson, AZ to face the No. 11 ranked Arizona. Thanks to their stout defensive unit. 7-footer Christian Koloko will match up with Wyoming standout Graham Ike, the toughest matchup Ike faces all season. Very few players have broken out to the degree of Koloko.
Saturday, Wyoming hosts Utah Valley, which just took down 12th ranked BYU. The Wolverines coming from the WAC conference, have Fardaws Aimaq, the country’s leading rebounder. Two challenging games for the Cowboys this week; both are big litmus tests.
3.) San Diego State
The Aztecs offensive woes continued in Saturday’s loss to Michigan. Matt Bradley finally found his footing, scoring 22 of the team 58 points, but no other player scored more than eight points (Keith Dinwiddie.) If Bradley parlays the big game with a hot streak, that would be instrumental as San Diego State aims to improve their 114th ranked offense (Per KenPom) — the concerns are very much there. The only opponent SDSU faces this week is Cal State Fullerton, who rank 258th in defensive efficiency — that could be a “get right” spot for the scuffling offense.
4.) Utah State
SMC snapped the Aggies six-game winning streak last week at the hands of Saint Mary’s — in a somewhat controversial fashion. Let’s set the stage — USU’s R.J. Eytle Rock forces a Dan Fotu turnover, giving Utah State the ball with a chance to win. Justin Bean misses the shot and battles Alex Ducas for the rebound, but the refs called Bean for a loose ball foul. That foul puts Ducas on the foul line with less than one second remaining — Ducas makes both. Sure, it might’ve been a foul, but you don’t typically see that foul called often in that situation. Tough break as the Aggies fought against an NCAA Tournament caliber Saint Mary’s team.
Shoot to Thrill.
— USU Men's Hoops (@USUBasketball) December 7, 2021
Utah State heads on the road to Provo — where they’ll play No. 24 ranked BYU. The Cougars are shorthanded in the frontcourt sans Gavin Baxter and Richard Harward, putting freshman Fouss Traore and Atiki Ally Atiki into substantial roles. BYU has an All-America caliber player Alex Barcello, one of the best scorers the country has to offer. If Utah State is legit, winning at BYU would prove that.