5.) Utah State – 52 points
The ball was bound to bounce in Utah State’s direction eventually — the 1-5 conference record wasn’t close to indicative of the team’s talent level. After the impressive victory over San Diego State, the Aggies had no issues in Reno, beating Nevada 78-49. Brock Miller missed another game with an injury, and Rylan Jones also didn’t play in the road contest. It was a balanced scoring attack; six players scored ten or more points, with Justin Bean leading the charge with 12. The two blowout victories catapulted USU’s KenPom ranking from 70th to 43rd nationally.
Who’s next: Three home games (Air Force, San Jose State, UNLV)
6.) Fresno State – 42 points
The Bulldogs got another 20+ point effort from Orlando Robinson in the tight-loss to Boise State, but that’s a tough loss considering how it happened. Fresno State had the game but couldn’t hold on to the final moments, likely putting away the final hopes of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. The team struggled shooting in the loss, only connecting on 5-17 shots from beyond the arc.
Who’s next: A rebound opportunity against the struggling SJSU squad before trying to split the series against Nevada.
7.) UNLV – 33 Points
If I had to describe UNLV’s stunning victory over Colorado State, the only word I’d use is “wow.” Bryce Hamilton poured in a career-high 45 points on 13-22 shooting and eight made threes. That’s one of the top performances in College Basketball this season. The second most points by any players this year only behind Liberty’s Darius McGhee, who had 48 points against Florida Gulf Coast. If Hamilton continues playing like this, and Donovan Williams plays like he’s capable, the Runnin Rebels could make noise in the league tournament. There’s no question UNLV’s stunner over Colorado State is the most impressive win of any win in Mountain West play.
Who’s next: A rivalry matchup against the struggling Nevada Wolf Pack in Vegas. Can Kevin Kruger‘s squad continue forward momentum? We’ll see.
8.) Air Force – 22 points
The Falcons gave NCAA Tournament hopeful quite the scare on Saturday, taking the Cowboys to the final possession. Wyoming ended up holding on by two, but Air Force’s defense has kept them competitive in many league games this season. The deliberate tempo paired with improvement defensively could play spoiler to upper-tier conference teams. Freshman guard Ethan Taylor eclipsed 10 points in four of his past five games.
What’s next: They look to sweep the season series over Utah State, who’s found their groove since the first meeting in Colorado Springs.
San Jose State – 7 points
The struggles in league play continue, as San Jose State lost six of seven games by double-figures. Struggles occur on both ends of the floor, but the three-point shooting dropped a notch after non-conference play. The Spartans have a bright future under first-year HC Tim Miles, but it’s a work-in-progress.
What’s next: Three games against top-60 KenPom teams (Fresno State, Boise State, and Utah State.)