Las Vegas Sun

April 24, 2014

Currently: 77° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Mountain West hoops power rankings: Feb. 22

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall quietly claps to himself while leaving the court after the Rebels beat Colorado State in their Mountain West Conference game 68-61 at Moby Arena Saturday, February 19, 2011 in Fort Collins.

The top two spots are again solid, but under the surface, the rest of the league continues to shift around.

UNLV's monster win at Colorado State over the weekend and Utah's wild buzzer-beater to upset New Mexico in The Pit forced a decent amount of movement.

If you're wanting to see San Diego State's stranglehold of the No. 1 ranking loosen, check back in a week, because it will if the Aztecs don't take care of BYU on their home floor next Saturday.

For now, on to this week's rankings …

1) No. 6 San Diego State (27-1 overall, 12-1 Mountain West)

Instead of falling apart following a 71-58 loss at BYU on Jan. 26, San Diego State made it a perfect 7-0 between that meeting and the rematch, which comes next Saturday. It's going to be the biggest game in the history of Viejas Arena, and the first game in Mountain West history on CBS. Apparently, some of the nation still needs to see the Aztecs, who as the only one-loss team in the AP Top 25 only got three first place votes this week. Seriously, what's up with that? If SDSU wins this game, it likely finishes the regular season 30-1. Last Week: 1

2) No. 7 BYU (25-2, 11-1)

OK, now seems like the right time to come out with it … Last week, while sitting at my desk, I dug up a copy of my preseason Mountain West Conference poll and award nominees. I picked BYU to finish fourth in the league. Boy, was I wrong. I may as well apologize right now. But don't call me a BYU hater, because I voted Kyle Collinsworth as the preseasons Freshman of the Year. Again: Boy, was I wrong. On a more relevant note, BYU's Wednesday home game with Colorado State should be interesting. The Rams played the Cougars close in a 94-85 loss on Jan. 22 in Fort Collins, and Jimmer Fredette might be protected a bit with a left calf contusion — Especially with Saturday's monster clash looming. Last Week: 2

3) UNLV (20-7, 8-5)

Barring two losses in their three remaining regular season games, the Rebels should finish the season here in the No. 3 perch, which is not too shabby. But credit in these rankings don't mean anything compared to an NCAA tournament berth, which UNLV is now safely in line for after securing a gritty road win at Colorado State on Saturday. Last Week: 4

4) Colorado State (18-8, 8-4)

As for the Rams' NCAA tourney hopes, they're not dead yet. But while UNLV has all winnable games remaining, CSU has to play at both BYU and San Diego State. Tim Miles' club likely has to win one of them to get back into the projected field of 68. Even if they don't, they're NIT-bound, which is just fine for a program that was 0-16 in Mountain West play only four years ago. Last Week: 3

5) Air Force (13-12, 4-8)

The once-promising Falcons have dropped four of their last five, but continue to play tough, disciplined ball. They almost pulled off a road win at UNLV last Tuesday, forcing the Rebels to play a slowed-down game that was in the academy's favor. Four days later, they led San Diego State by a point at the half before bowing out by 12. Credit Air Force for not throwing in the towel amidst the struggles. Last Week: 6

6) New Mexico (17-10, 5-7)

It's all but official now that New Mexico's only way back to the NCAA tourney is by winning the Mountain West tournament. That became the case on Saturday, when the Lobos dropped a 62-60 buzzer-beating heartbreaker at The Pit to Utah … who was playing without leading scorer Will Clyburn. Between that and the loss at Wyoming, it's been a conference season to forget for the Lobos. Last Week: 5

7) Utah (12-15, 5-8)

The Utes winning at New Mexico is something I'm sure no one predicted, especially with Clyburn out due to a foot injury. Still, the past can't be completely ignored, so Utah stays in seventh this week. Last Week: 7

8) Wyoming (9-17, 2-10)

Wyoming got a weekend off, and gets a winnable home date with Air Force on Wednesday. After that? Well, the Pokes finish at UNLV, home against San Diego State and at BYU. They need to savor the opportunity against the Falcons, because it's probably their last real shot at victory in 2010-11. Last Week: 8

9) TCU (10-18, 1-12)

Ten consecutive losses and counting … Last Week: 9

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy