5.) Fresno State – 68 points
Currently 7-1 on the season, Fresno State comes in fifth place in this week’s Mountain West rankings. The Bulldogs played two games last week, only allowing 43 points in each game. That’s a trend for Justin Hutson’s squad — they haven’t allowed more than 63 points in a game this season. The issues shooting the ball are well noted, only drilling 29.9 percent of their shots outside.
Very few teams can limit the lethal scoring attack of the 9-0 San Francisco Dons, which will be the Bulldogs’ biggest test to date. With the high-volume three-point shooting USF throws out, if those shots fall, that could add another loss on the record for Fresno. The matchup between 7-footer Orlando Robinson and San Fran’s Yauhen Massalski makes for a good matchup.
6.) New Mexico – 59 points:
The voting took place prior to Monday night’s game against New Mexico State, which the Lobos lost on a Nate Pryor buzzer-beating layup in the extra period. That gives the two New Mexico squads a season split, as UNM won at NMSU a few weeks back, and the Aggies repaid the favor yesterday. There’s no question bright days are ahead in Albercurque, as Richard Pitino greatly utilized the transfer portal — hauling in two All-Conference caliber guards Jamal Mashburn Jr and Jaelen House. Both are talented guards from the high-major ranks, but they’ve been tremendous additions to the program. The two combined for 47 of UNM’s 76 points on Monday.
— Lobo Basketball (@UNMLoboMBB) December 7, 2021
The Lobos host Denver on Thursday — that shouldn’t pose much of a problem for UNM. But looking ahead to Sunday, a rising UTEP squad under first-year head coach Joe Golding travels to New Mexico. Just like Golding’s teams at Abilene Christian, he brings his well-documented defensive coaching prowess to El Paso.
7.) Air Force – 58 Points:
Air Force continues rattling off wins, now at seven consecutive wins following last week’s blowout win over Army. The Falcons hold wins over Tulsa, and Texas Southern, who just blew out No. 20 ranked Florida in Gainsville. There’s no question Joe Scott’s team is the surprise of the Mountain West so far. I don’t expect Air Force to contend in the five of the league legitimately, but they’ve made the most of their non-conference chances. A road game at Montana awaits later this week.
The main reason for the success? Players like Ethan Taylor, Joseph Octave, and Jake Heidbreder have added significant contributions alongside returning star A.J. Walker. This season, the Princeton offense is much more efficient, guiding Air Force’s third-ranking nationally in two-point field goal percentage.
8.) Nevada – 47 points:
Nothing changed in the last week for Nevada — COVID protocols canceled last week’s scheduled games in Texas against North Texas and UT-Arlington. The Wolf Pack’s next scheduled game comes on December 15th, hosting Minnesota-Duluth.
— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) December 7, 2021
9.) Boise State – 32 points:
The Broncos narrowly escaped a three-game-losing streak thanks to a late-game surge in Saturday’s Tulsa game. The season-long issue of free-throw shooting continued — going 8-16 from the free throw-line, dropping the season percentage to 55.6 percent, ranking 355th nationally.
10.) San Jose State
Despite losing at Pepperdine on Monday, the Spartans have shown a ton of promise in Tim Miles’s first season in San Jose. With wins over Cal State Fullerton, Northern Colorado, South Dakota, and North Dakota, SJSU’s compiled solid non-conference wins. As Pacific comes to the Provident Credit Union Event Center, a tough home contest awaits. SJSU is shooting 39 percent from three this season, over six percent higher than last season. The influx of new talent, namely Tibet Gorener, Alvaro Cardenas Torre, and Trey Anderson, has helped improve the shooting.
11.) UNLV: 12 points
UNLV met had a grueling past five Division one games, facing Michigan, Wichita State, UCLA, SMU, and San Francisco. Each of those games resulted in the Runnin Rebels losing five consecutive games. The next two come against Seattle, a rising team in the WAC, and Hartford, the America East champs. UNLV continues struggling offensively, shooting 40 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from deep.