Mountain West Power Rankings Week 13: Who Is No. 1?
Cowboys at the top
Colorado State jumps to number two
Less than one month remains until Selection Sunday, and the Mountain West looks well-positioned to send four teams dancing.
1.) Wyoming – 76 points
Wyoming had another tough test facing scorching hot Utah State in Laramie on Tuesday — the game ended up heading to extra frames as Graham Ike made two free throws with 16 seconds left, and the Aggies didn’t get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded. In the extra five minutes, Ike hit a shot with two seconds left, which ended up being the game-winner. That’s a solid home win where Wyoming was only favorited by 1.5 points, as the Aggies rank favorably in all metrics. The Cowboys can’t afford losses to bottom-half Mountain West foes, and they made easy work of San Jose State 74-52, led by Ike’s 25 points, 18 rebound outing.
Winning the two games earned Jeff Linder’s squad a spot in this week’s AP top 25 rankings, entering the poll at number 22. They head to New Mexico to face the Lobos — in a tough environment, as the PIT provides a massive home-court advantage. After that, Wyoming finishes the week returning home to host Air Force over the weekend.
2.) Colorado State – 69 points
Colorado State won a trio of games last week, stretching their winning streak to four consecutive wins. The Rams looked well-positioned to take the road victory in Reno, with David Roddy scoring 29 points on 11-14 shooting in the double-digit win. Roddy was three rebounds and two assists shy of recording his first college triple-double as the Rams coasted to their 65-50 victory over Fresno State. Some controversy emerged on Super Bowl Sunday; no, I’m not talking about Logan Wilson’s holding call on 3rd and goal either.
Let’s set the stage, Isaiah Stevens drives to the tin, and Abu Kigab strips the ball away with around seconds remaining. Kigab was bumped by Isaiah Stevens and no there was no foul called, but an inadvertent whistle led to a 10-minute stoppage, trying to figure out what exactly happened. The game then went to overtime, where Roddy sealed the ball with an emphatic block to nix any chance of Marcus Shaver tying the game again. A 3-0 week is what the doctor ordered for the Rams to stay alive in the league’s regular-season title race.
Two sneaky road games await — Facing New Mexico and UNLV, two games that could damage an NCAA Tournament bid more than help improve it.
3.) Boise State – 63 points
Boise State started off slow against UNLV, and the lack of Emmanuel Akot was noticeable on the defensive end, but they found their stride late in the contest, winning 69-63. The loss to Colorado State is hard to swallow for the Broncos — of course, they faced an outstanding basketball team, but the missed blocking foul is the takeaway from an otherwise entertaining game. Mountain West freshman of the year Tyson Degenhart tallied 16 points while knocking down 4-4 shots from three. The Broncos could use Akot back as he’s the team’s point guard and an integral part of the defensive attack.
The Broncos head to Colorado Springs on Wednesday and return home to host Utah State on Saturday.
4.) San Diego State – 55 points
Last week further showed why San Diego State could fall short of earning an NCAA Tournament bid — the offense can go in long lulls of not scoring if Matt Bradley doesn’t put on his superman cape and drop buckets. The Aztecs had wins over San Jose State and Air Force, but neither was comfortable. SDSU ranks 222nd in KenPom’s defensive efficiency ranking, despite ranking second in defensive efficiency.
This week, the Aztecs face two difficult tests against Utah State and Fresno State.
5.) Fresno State – 49 points
On Friday, Fresno State couldn’t crack 60 points in their road loss to Colorado State, falling 65-50. Orlando Robinson led the scoring charge with 24 points, but nobody else reached double-figures. The loss marks the second consecutive Bulldogs loss dating back to February 6th’s Wyoming loss. The team isn’t positioned for an NCAA Tournament bid unless they make a surge in the league tournament — however, an NIT bid looks very much in the works.
UNLV comes to Fresno on Wednesday, where Mountain West player of the year candidates Bryce Hamilton and Fresno’s Robinson try leading their respective teams to victory. Then San Diego State comes town in what should make for a defensive battle, first to 60 wins!