Week 2: Jan. 14 – 20
1. San Diego State (14-2, 2-0) Last week: No. 1
Last week: Won at Fresno State, 65-62; Won vs. Colorado State, 79-72 OT
Best win: Dec. 1 vs. UCLA, 78-69
Notable loss: Dec. 25 vs. Arizona, 68-67
Comment: The Aztecs had to fight to win at Fresno State, and Colorado State almost shocked them with an amazing comeback, which only goes to prove how tough this league is. But SDSU came out on top both times, and this happened. Got to keep them in the No. 1 spot after that, right?
2. New Mexico (15-2, 2-0) Last week: No. 3
Last week: Won vs. UNLV, 65-60; Won vs. Fresno State, 72-45
Best win: Dec. 27 at Cincinnati, 55-54
Notable loss: Dec. 22 vs. South Dakota State, 70-65
Comment: New Mexico went toe-to-toe with UNLV last week and came away with a hard-fought 65-60 win that had people around Vegas questioning the Rebels toughness. But give credit to the Lobos, who are built to play that way, especially at home. Bigger than the sum of the parts.
3. Boise State (13-2, 1-0) Last week: No. 6
Last week: Won at Wyoming, 63-61
Best win: Nov. 28 at Creighton, 83-70
Notable loss: Dec. 5 at Utah, 76-55
Comment: Boise State’s MWC opener could have been disastrous, as leading scorer Derrick Marks and three reserves were suspended for violating team rules, but the Broncos went to previously undefeated Wyoming and won anyway, with Jeff Elorriaga hitting a three at the buzzer. Lucky? Maybe. But you can’t argue with the record.
4. UNLV (14-3, 1-1) Last week: No. 2
Last week: Lost at New Mexico, 65-60; Won vs. Air Force, 76-71 OT
Best win: Dec. 9 at Cal, 76-75
Notable loss: Nov. 23 vs. Oregon, 83-79
Comment: Things got pretty tense around Rebels camp after they came up short at New Mexico, as everyone desperately wanted to avoid an 0-2 start. Saturday’s win over Air Force was closer than expected, but it was important for the team to prove they could win a close game against a quality opponent. Still, gotta drop the Rebs a few spots based on the New Mexico loss. They can make a move upward with a win at San Diego State on Wednesday.
5. Air Force (9-5, 1-1) Last week: No. 8
Last week: Won vs. Nevada, 78-65; Lost at UNLV, 76-71 OT
Best win: Jan. 9 vs. Nevada, 78-65
Notable loss: Dec. 2 vs. Wichita State, 72-69
Comment: We all got a firsthand look at how tough the Falcons can be when they came into the Thomas and Mack Center and almost handed the Rebels a disastrous home loss. They won’t win any battles on the boards, but their outside shooting will keep them in a lot of games. I like them better than Wyoming, for now.
6. Wyoming (14-1, 1-1) Last week: No. 4
Last week: Lost vs. Boise State, 63-61; Won at Nevada, 59-48
Best win: Dec. 1 vs. Colorado, 76-69
Notable loss: Jan. 9 vs. Boise State, 63-61
Comment: The Cowboys didn’t do a very good job of quieting the skeptics who spent the first two months of the seasno questioning their soft schedule. They let a depleted Boise State team come onto their home court and win a buzzer-beater, and even though they rebounded to beat Nevada behind Leonard Washington’s 16 and 13, I still have to drop them a couple spots.
7. Colorado State (13-3, 0-1) Last week: No. 5
Last week: Lost at San Diego State, 79-72 OT
Best win: Nov. 24 at Washington, 73-55
Notable loss: Dec. 8 at Illinois-Chicago, 64-55
Comment: It’s hard to drop the Rams after they took our No. 1 team to overtime on the road, but hey, life in the Mountain West is tough. It’s going to be fascinating to see how the Rebels handle Colton Iverson, Wes Elkmeier, Pierce Hornung and Co. when they come to Las Vegas on Jan. 19.
8. Nevada (9-7, 0-2) Last week: No. 7
Last week: Lost at Air Force, 78-65; Lost vs. Wyoming, 59-48
Best win: Dec. 8 at Washington, 76-73
Notable loss: Dec. 4 at Pacific, 78-72 (OT)
Comment: It might be a long year for Nevada, which faced a pair of teams in the middle of the pack (according to our rankings, anyway) and lost both games by double digits. The Wolf Pack have a chance to get in the win column on Saturday, when they face last-place Fresno State.
9. Fresno State (6-9, 0-2) Last week: No. 9
Last week: Lost vs. San Diego State, 65-62; Lost at New Mexico, 72-45
Best win: Nov. 19 at Cal Poly, 76-67
Notable loss: Dec. 15 vs. UC Irvine, 58-51
Comment: The Bulldogs’ loss at New Mexico was the biggest blowout of the conference season so far, but the close call against SDSU has to give the team some hope.
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