Mountain West Basketball power rankings: San Diego State or Utah State first?

Mountain West Basketball power rankings: San Diego State or Utah State first?

Air Force

Mountain West Basketball power rankings: San Diego State or Utah State first?

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First MW basketball rankings!


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Who takes the top spot??

1.) San Diego State – 83 points

San Diego State: The Aztecs are 5-2 to start the season despite playing the ninth toughest schedule in college basketball. The daunting defense of UC Irvine nearly stunned San Diego State in Viejas, but Micah Parrish set his feet and swished a wide-open three to secure the victory. What did we learn? San Diego State doesn’t fold under pressure, which comes from Brian Dutcher on the sideline and the experience of the players on the court. Once Darrion Trammell and Matt Bradley start connecting on shots simultaneously, it’ll be tough to dethrone San Diego State.

2.) Utah State – 78 points

Utah State: The Aggies are top-50 in KenPom, unbeaten and look the part of legitimate contender in the Mountain West. It starts with the breakout of Steven Ashworth (19.0 points, 5.6 assists) and the fit of St Joe’s transfer Taylor Funk (18.2 points, 8.8 rebounds.) A duo like that could help the Aggies snag another Mountain West title, it just comes down to stopping opponents on the defensive end.

3.) UNLV – 71 points

UNLV: The polar opposite of Utah State is the team down in Vegas. The Runnin’ Rebels struggle to score but thrive on defense — ranking top-35 nationally in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric. UNLV has some versatile defenders across the floor with Luis Rodriguez, Eli Parquet and EJ Harkless to smother offensive players. Additionally, sophomore Keshon Gilbert has morphed into the go-to option for UNLV. Now is the time to take UNLV seriously as an NCAA Tournament-level team.

4.) New Mexico – 59 points

The Lobos look pretty good in Richard Pitino’s second-season on campus. The squad is led by a pair of guards, Jamal Mashburn Jr and Jaelen House, two sons of former long-time NBA players, Jamal Sr and Eddie House. The Lobos hold one of the biggest home-court advantages in the Mountain West and have plenty of talent to support the fourth ranking.

5.) Boise State  – 56 points

Boise continues to struggle offensively, even Tyson Degenhart and Marcus Shaver Jr have seen their fair share of struggles. We know the Broncos will defend for 40 minutes but the lack of offensive flow could impact the Broncos this season.

6.) Nevada – 50 points

Nevada: The most surprising Mountain West team? The Pack in Reno. The win on Monday over Sam Houston State cemented what Nevada showed over the first two weeks — an unselfish team, who defends, plays hard and looks cohesive. All of those issues plagued Nevada in their ugly 13-win campaign from 2021-22. Senior forward Kenan Blackshear Is the teams heartbeat and youngsters Darrion Williams and Nick Davidson have carved out significant roles for now and future. The Wolf Pack’s only loss came in overtime to Kansas State, a game Nevada had multiple chances to win.

7.) Colorado State – 46 points

Colorado State: The Rams looked shaky to start the season without Isaiah Stevens, but Niko Medved assembled the correct formula to get the Rams offense humming. Much of the success can get attributed to freshman Tavi Jackson from Las Vegas. The smaller but shifty guard is now starting over Baylor Hebb and is averaging 9.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Typical role players like Isaiah Rivera and Patrick Cartier helped ease the scoring load off the shoulders of John Tonje. AND Isaiah Stevens is officially back! Huge news for the Rams.

8.) San Jose State – 31 points

San Jose State: The bottom fell off for San Jose State once injuries hit last season but Tim Miles has the train back on track in year two of his tenure in San Jose. Stat-sheet stuffing Omari Moore continues to make winning plays, Ibrahima Diallo is healthy to man the interior defense but the addition of Sage Tolbert changed everything. The multi-time transfer is averaging 10.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and is shooting 58.3% on only six attempts per game. The Spartans head to Fayetteville to face Eric Musselman and Arkansas next.

 

9.) Wyoming – 25 points

Wyoming: The Cowboys took a gut-punch when Graham Ike went down for two months — now Hunter Maldonado is on the shelf for at least one game. The Cowboys dropped one to Southeastern Louisiana, a team outside the top-300 in KenPom and also lost to Boston College. It’s already too late for Wyoming to compete for a tourney bid unless it comes from the conference tournament. The positive? Losing Ike and Maldonado briefly could allow others to emerge once the two first-team all conference selections return to action.

10.) Air Force – 20 points

Air Force: Even the bottom-dweller of the Mountain West isn’t getting demolished in non-con play. Air Force is 4-3 with wins over a trio of solid mid majors, USC Upstate, Delaware and Montana. Freshman guard Corbin Green is making himself known in Colorado Springs, posting 15 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in three games this season (missed the first four games.) Traveling to the altitude of Colorado isn’t easy, so Air Force could cause havoc in the Mountain West’s quest for multi-bids.

11.) Fresno State – 9 points

Fresno State: Life after Orlando Robinson has proven difficult for Fresno State. The Bulldogs look rough on offense, don’t have a go-to option but still play tough defense, which keeps them competitive in spite of the scoring woes.


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