Updated conference rankings
A new team holds the top spot
Another week of Mountain West Hoops in the rear-view mirror, while several key games ended up postponed, the game of the year in the conference took place on short notice.
1.) San Diego State – 54 points
For the first time of the 2021-22 Mountain West Basketball rankings, the Colorado State Rams no longer hold first place. The Aztecs clobbered Colorado State 79-49, limiting the potent CSU offense to 3-20 on three-point attempts. Holding Colorado State to only three made threes in 40 minutes shows off the defensive genius of Head Coach Brian Dutcher, the leader of the Mountain West’s top defense. California transfer Matt Bradley scored 26 points in the victory, notching his season-high in the biggest game of 2022.
Chad Baker-Mazara scored 14 points in 21 minutes played in other encouraging news. Baker-Mazara, a transfer from Duquesne, averaged double-digit points last year in the Atlantic-10. If the 6-foot-8 versatile wing continues to see sizable minutes, there’s no question the scoring output from the team improves.
San Diego State improves to 2-0 in Mountain West play with the win but make the trip to Albercurque to play New Mexico in the PIT. That’s another tough test for the experienced Aztecs roster.
2.) Colorado State Rams – 50 points
Alright – we already touched on the shellacking the Rams took on Saturday. But let’s pivot to some optimism; of course, losing by 30 points never looks good. On the flip side, it’s unrealistic to think Colorado State entered the Mountain West tournament unbeaten. There are too many good teams and harsh atmospheres to go all year without losing. This game won’t change how I view the team — David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens combined for 36 of the team 49 points. The two superstars of the team had a solid game, but the rest of the roster combined for 13 points. I view this game similarly to the Saint Mary’s loss from last year, facing two adamant defensive-minded teams when you just came out of a COVID-pause.
The Rams host Utah State on Wednesday before making another road trip to San Jose State.
3.) Boise State Broncos
The Broncos last three games ended up postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. As of now, the Broncos are trying to extend their six-game winning streak in Reno against the Nevada Wolf Pack.
4.) Wyoming Cowboys – 44 points
The Cowboys haven’t played since the Diamond Head Classic over Christmas week due to COVID-19 protocols. Wyoming resumes play on the 15th in a rescheduled game against Utah State in Laramie.
5.) Nevada Wolf Pack – 30 points
Nevada has a tough three-game week coming up, hosting Boise State on Wednesday before traveling 1,500 miles to play Air Force and Wyoming in two days. That’ll be a tough test for a talented Wolf Pack team trying to find their footing.
6.) Utah State Aggies – 29 points
Utah State had a tough hill to climb on Saturday against New Mexico, trailing 47-32 at halftime. After battling back-and-forth throughout the early stages of the second stanza, the Aggies finally evened the game up at 61-61 after a Trevin Dorius layup went through the bucket. Neither team led by more than four points in the final five minutes — K.J. Jenkins, the JUCO transfer from Kilgore College, sank a three to send the game to Overtime. Utah State outscored the Lobos 14-11 in the extra frame, winning the game 90-87. Justin Bean led the scoring charge with 21 points, while the typically light-scoring duo of Sean Bairstow and R.J. Eytle-Rock scored 29 points combined.
USU has the toughest week of any Mountain West team, traveling to Fort Collins before hosting Wyoming only three days later.