5.) Fresno State – 63 points
On Saturday, Fresno State was in cruise control, beating Cal Poly by 35 points, bringing their record to 9-2. They face a tough task upcoming, heading on the road to play former Mountain West coach Craig Smith’s Utah Utes. It’s a bit of a rebuild for the Utes, and they’ll be without top-player Branden Carlson in this contest. Should the Bulldogs emerge victoriously, they’ll rise in this poll next week.
6.) Boise State – 60 points
Things in Boise looked dicey early in the season, but since losing to Saint Louis on November 30th, the Broncos are on a five-game winning streak. Tyson Degenhart continues emerging as a highly-impactful player, notching two consecutive conference freshman of the week honors. A tough road game awaits — Leon Rice’s squad heads to Pullman, Washington, to face the Washington State Cougars, led by first-team preseason selection Noah Williams.
7.) Nevada – 41 points
The Wolf Pack returned to action following their multi-week COVID pause — they beat Minnesota Duluth and Loyola Marymount, which brings them to 6-4 on the year. Unfortunately, the Wolf Pack would’ve played Grand Canyon on Tuesday, but COVID protocols canceled the contest. That cancellation ends the non-conference schedule for Nevada, as they begin league play on December 28th in San Jose.
8.) Air Force – 31 points
The Falcons enter the final week of non-league play on a two-game losing streak, following their loss to Arkansas State. The Redwolves only allowed 46 points and 6-21 from the three-point range. Air Force tries finding their footing against a tough Tarleton State squad on Tuesday. The Billy Gillespie-coached team made things difficult on Gonzaga and Michigan, adding a win over South Alabama last week. However, the Texans only have one Division One victory despite playing close games.
9.) UNLV – 27 points
UNLV beat Omaha last week, adding to their current three-game winning streak. Transfer guard Mike Nuga returned to the lineup after missing the Hartford game. Next up: San Diego from the WCC, familiar with Mountain West opponents, including beating UNLV’s rival from Reno last month.
It’s worth nothing — San Diego starting guards Jase Townsend and Joey Calcaterra missed the past few games. If they aren’t able to suit up in Vegas, the Toreros rely on Freshman Wayne McKinney and Sophomore TJ Berger. Marcellus Earlington leads the team in scoring in his first season coming over from St John’s. The 6-foot-6 transfer shoots above 40 percent from three.
10.) San Jose State – 25 points
The Spartans won their first road game of the Tim Miles era at Portland. Perhaps most impressively, they did so without starting center Ibrahima Diallo. They made 17 three-pointers and scored 90 points in the victory, showing off the team’s shooting ability.
San Jose’s undefeated home record is on the line on Tuesday against Santa Clara. This season, the Broncos have beaten Stanford, Nevada, and TCU and have Jalen Williams and Josip Vrankic, two All-WCC caliber players.
11.) New Mexico – 17 points
I mentioned last week how good SMU point guard Kendrick Davis was — he showed why scoring 33 points in the Mustangs blowout victory in the PIT. The Lobos went 5-26 from deep and couldn’t put together any source of consistent offense aside from Jamal Mashburn Jr.
New Mexico hosts Norfolk State, who made the NCAA Tournament last season. The Spartans are 9-3, with a win over Bowling Green.