Week 5 helped to shape the MWC picture and make it more clear who is going to prevail. New Mexico, Wyoming, UNLV and San Diego State all had stellar weeks with no losses in week 5 and are all making strong cases for NCAA tournament bids. Bise State and CSU had rough weeks with no wins in the 5th week of play, but are still very much in the race, as for Fresno State, Nevada and Air Force, they'd better play their butts off in Conference play if they are intending on crashing the big dance.
1. New Mexico: Head Coach Steve Alford is making a strong case for MWC COY. To be honest I didn't think the Lobos would stay undefeated this far, and yet they have, and with such a strong schedule to boot. Illinois-Chicago (8-1) only loss is to the Lobos while the UConn huskies have proven to be a good win with their resume being 7-2 with losses to UNM and NC State. G Kendall Williams (13.2 PPG-5.2 APG), G Tony Snell (11.7 PPG-3.4 APG) and F-C Alex Krik (11.7 PPPG-8.2 RGP) lead balanced Lobos scoring core and look to study for finals week along with the rest of the Lobos as they are off until Sat when they start their home and away series with NMSU.
2. Wyoming: Head Coach Larry Shyatt may be giving Alford a run for his money in the MWC COY race as he has his Cowboys team half way to 20 wins and their first NCAA tournament bid since 2002. Before the month of December many had though Wyoming had been lucky, and had an easy schedule, then came the 1st when they knocked off No. 19 Colorado and followed that up with an encore win on the road at Illinois State. F Leonard Washington (15.2 PPG-8.6 RPG) is leading his Wyoming team and looks to turn more heads in week 6.
3. UNLV: The Runnin' Rebels edged Cal in a close game, 76-75, which saw quintrell make a last minute shot to get UNLV to 7-1 and 1-1 VS Pac 12 opponents. F Anthony Bennett (19.5 PPG-8.3 RPG) is making his case to be freshmen of the year, if not MWC player of the year as comes off a hot game vs a probable NCAA Tournament Cal team in which scored 25 points and grabbed 13 boards. Key wins against UNI and @ UNC could project UNLV into the top 15.
4. San Diego State: The Aztecs have been good, there's no doubt about that, it's just that their schedule hasn't. At the beginning of the year wins over USC and UCLA would have looked good, but now you just feel bad for those teams. The rest of their nonconference slate isn't exactly "frightening" as their toughest opponent is going to be the San Francisco Dons, so until the conference season rolls around, the Aztecs are going to have a tough time making a case for the top team in the MWC.
5. Boise State: The Broncos were riding high during their 3 game road trip, which included a win over No. 11 Creighton, but then made a stop in Salt Lake City and got beat by the Utes' 76-55, which doesn't; exactly appeal to the NCAA Tournament committee. Guard duo Derrick Marks (18.6 PPG- 3.4 APG) and Anthony Drmic (14.3 PPG- 5 RPG) have complimented each other and the backcourt quite nicely for the Broncos and can get back on the winning side with a win at home VS the unbeaten LSU Tigers.
6. Colorado State: The Rams are going to needs some ibuprofen after this week. The Rams, led by F-C Colton Iverson (15.5 PPG-11.1 RPG) and G Dorian Green (12.1 PPG-3.4 APG), were looking to make a statement at Colorado but instead fell flat on their faces and lost 70-61. The second leg of their road trip wasn't pretty either, losing to Illinois-Chicago, the only team whose loss is to CSU rival New Mexico. Much like the Aztecs, the Rams are going to have a tough time making their two losses look good in a weak schedule, that won't get harder until the conference season, so the Rams should get comfy in the basement until Jan 12 comes.
7. Air Force Academy: The Falcons share a similary with their instate rival Colorado State in that they both have 2 losses and both share defeats to Colorado. The Falcons other loss to, now ranked No. 24, WSU Shockers, which in retrospect doesn't look that bad. If the Falcons really want to make a statement, they could remain undefeated throughout the rest of their non-conference schedule with a win at Florida, although G Michael Lyons (20.3 PPG-5.2 RPG) will need more help to conquer that task, or better yet beat Richmond.
8. Fresno State: I don't know how, but even with a loss to Washington State to end the week, the Bulldogs looks better than their fellow ex-WAC team Nevada. Both teams have 5 wins and 4 losses, although Fresno State has a win over Cal Poly, who beat UCLA, a win over Pacific, who beat Nevada and Xavier and a win over Long Beach State never looks bad. G Allen Huddleston (12.2 PG-2.2 APG-2.4 APG) is still the only player on the Bulldogs roster that averages double digit scoring.
9. Nevada: Yikes- what a start for the season for the Wolf Pack. Nevada is hardly making a case for an NCAA Tournament invite, let stay above .500 before the season's end. Guard duo Deonte Burton (20 PPG-3 RPG) and Malik Story (16.7 PPG-3.3 APG) still remain the Wolf Pack's main source of scoring, with F Devonte Elliott (6.7 PPG-3.7 APG) being the next highest scorer. A win over Oregon would maybe make people give Nevada another glance, though with that game being played in Eugene, it looks highly unlikely that will happen.