Six edition of the MWC Power Rankings by AztecReport.com.
1. New Mexico (20-4, 7-2)
This week: At Fresno State (Wednesday) and vs. Boise State (Saturday).
The Lobos still are first place in the Mountain West despite going (1-1) last week. New Mexico destroyed Air Force then followed that up with a 9-point loss to UNLV A.T. Thomas and Mack Center. It's an important week for UNM as the following week they'll travel to Colorado State then welcome in SDSU.
"Our locker room has a championship mindset to it," New Mexico head coach Steve Alford said. "I think they understand the flow of league play, the urgency it takes every night out, whether you're playing at home or on the road. Our guys have a good understanding of it. If you just look statistically we have done a very good job of getting to the free throw line, think we are a pretty decent rebounding team, think we guard well, tough mindset so those things have been pretty good qualities for us over the course of the season."
2. Colorado State (19-4, 6-2)
This week: Home vs. SDSU (Wednesday) and at Air Force (Saturday).
The No. 24 Rams, first time cracking the polls this season, are now winners of four straight but will deal with murderers' row the next four: SDSU, at AFA, at UNLV and UNM. Colorado State has now won 26 straight home games, which is the third-longest streak in the nation. CSU also leads the country in rebounding with 42.4 a game.
"There's a lot of basketball to be played," CSU head coach Larry Eustachy said of the season. "We certainly don't want to be comfortable. I'm excited that our team is right up towards the top in the conference standings. Our goal is to win the conference. It's going to be extremely difficult but proud of our guys thus far and we'll continue to be regards of what happen."
3. San Diego State (18-5, 6-3)
This week: At Colorado State (Wednesday) and at UNLV (Saturday).
It was another rollercoaster week for the Aztecs. Senior guard Chase Tapley hit a game-winning corner three with 2.8 seconds left to escape a disaster loss to Boise State at home. Point guard Xavier Thames returned for Saturday's match against Fresno State and it showed how much he means to the team. San Diego State put together their best 40 minutes of basketball all season in the blowout win. Now they travel to CSU and UNLV. It doesn't get any tougher than that two-game stretch.
"We venture to Colorado State on Wednesday and UNLV on Saturday, two teams that are very good," SDSU head coach Steve Fisher said. "And I would venture to say no team in America could have a tougher two-game road swing than we're about to embark on. That's the challenge. Against Colorado State, we had an overtime win here that was right down to the wire. They have the third-longest winning streak in the country. They beat us up badly at their place last season. And they are deserving of finally getting themselves ranked in both the AP and the Coaches' Poll. So we know the challenge ahead of us."
4. UNLV (17-5, 4-3)
This week: At Air Force (Wednesday) and vs. SDSU (Saturday).
It was a bipolar week for the Rebels. They lost to last place Fresno State on the road by nine then bounced back by defeating first place New Mexico by nine at home. What UNLV team will show up this week with two tough games scheduled?
"We always prefer to play up-and-down if at all possible," UNLV head coach Dave Rice said of the upcoming game against SDSU. "I thought the first half of the UNLV – San Diego State game was a high level half; great offensive efficiency from both teams. We have proven we can be successful playing at a slower pace but thing with San Diego State, with their experience, high quality players, is that they are versatile as well. They are hard to stop. One of the things so difficult about playing San Diego State is they are so good on the defensive end and have been for a number of years."
5. Air Force (14-8, 5-4)
This week: Home vs. UNLV (Wednesday) and vs. New Mexico (Saturday).
The Falcons were riding a five game winning streak before falling to both New Mexico and Nevada on the road. It doesn't get any easier for AFA as the Rebels and Lobos head into Clune Arena this week.
"We've got to be tuned in this week and on point with everything we do offensively and defensively because it's a good opportunity to play in front of our home crowd." Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich said of tough home schedule this week.
6. Boise State (16-7, 4-5)
This week: At New Mexico (Saturday).
The Broncos are playing their best basketball of conference game with three straight quality outings: 5-point win vs. UNLV, 1-point loss at Viejas Arena and a 7-point victory over Wyoming. BSU is finally at full strength and they are playing like it. Sophomore guard Derrick Marks was named MW Player of the Week on Monday morning.
"New Mexico is the complete package," BSU head coach Leon Rice said of New Mexico. "They are really well coached… Continue to improve throughout the year, from the outside looking in they seem to have great team chemistry, they know their roles, execute, always have solid game plans and then they have great players."
7. Nevada (12-11, 3-6)
This week: Colorado State (Wednesday) and vs. Air Force (Saturday).
Malik Story averaged 23.5 points in the Wolf Pack's two games last week: loss to CSU and win over AFA.
"I think the last two weeks our team has been playing pretty well," Nevada head coach David Carter said. I know we haven't had a lot of wins to show for it but I'm pleased with what direction we are headed in."
8. Wyoming (16-7, 2-7)
This week: Home vs. Nevada (Wednesday) and vs. Fresno State (Saturday).
The Cowboys have now lost five straight conference games since the impressive win against the Aztecs a few weeks ago. Some home cooking versus the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs should do the trick.
9. Fresno State (8-13, 2-7)
This week: Home vs. New Mexico (Wednesday) and at Wyoming (Saturday).
FSU earned their second conference victory of the season after knocking off UNLV by nine in front of 8,044 Bulldog fans. But Fresno State followed that up by getting destroyed by the Aztecs, as all of the starters for SDSU were out of the game with eight minutes left to play. Freshman Robert Upshaw will serve the last game of his three-game suspension (team rules) against UNM.
"They're a good team, and anytime you give them an opportunity to push the ball in transition and get their transition game going and give them turnovers – they're one of the most efficient teams in the country converting turnovers – and when you do that on their home court, they can beat anybody in the country," FSU head coach Rodney Terry said of the difference in SDSU now compared to the first meeting.
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