Week 9 could perhaps have been the most pivotal of the non conference season for the MWC. San Diego State was just one shot away from toppling No.3 Arizona, UNLV lost the rematch at North Carolina and New Mexico made sound waves in the buckeye state by beating No.8 Cincinnati. In the last week on non conference play, the Lobos look to cap off their tough schedule by playing Saint Louis and hopefully having only one loss to show their dominance. Wyoming will have somewhat of a challenge by traveling down to Dallas to play SMU, though, even if they win, they will have to wait until the MWC season to prove their worth.
1. New Mexico: After spending a week in the No.4 spot, the Lobos were quick to rebound after their loss to South Dakota State by going to No.8 Cincinnati and beating them 55-54 to improve to 13-1 on the year. The Lobos wrap up the non conference season by going on the road again, to the much closer Saint Louis Billikens. Tandem guards Kendall Williams (14.9 PPG-4.7 APG) and Tony Snell (11.5 PPG-3.1 APG) will need to play their top game if the Lobos are looking to finish the regular season MWC champions.
2. Wyoming: As it has been said many times this season, The Cowboys are yet to prove their selves as the No.1 team in the MWC. The Cowboys only two wins of the season came against the Colorado Buffaloes and an Illinois State team that has just been beaten by Indiana State to fall to 9-4. A win against SMU will look nice come March, and will make the Pokes' a force to be reckoned with in the MWC season.
3. San Diego State: If only G Xavier Thames (10.5 PPG-2.5 RPG) were just a little bit taller, then the Aztecs may have gotten their first win over a ranked opponent this season. Though like the old saying goes, "if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas." Cheesy saying aside, The Aztecs are still a good team at 11-2, though this Aztecs team still has one glaring weakness: if G Jamaal Franklin (17.2 PPG-9.8 RPG) doesn't score, this team doesn't win. In The Aztecs two losses this season to Syracuse and Arizona, Franklin scored only 11 and 9 points respectively, his lowest scoring affairs of the season.
4. UNLV: The Rebels got a taste of their own medicine in week 8, being ranked at No.20 and losing on the road to an unranked UNC team, much like the situation last year, though the loss may not have been as dramatic for the ranked team this year, it is still a disappointing one for the Rebels. F Anthony Bennett had a double-double in the loss with 15 points and 13 boards, while G Anthony Marshall had a big game as well scoring 15 points and dishing out 8 assists. The Rebels will be tested at the beginning of the conference season, with games @ New Mexico and San Diego State and at home against Colorado State in UNLV's first two weeks of conference play.
5. Colorado State: The Rams have been steadily riding the ship after their two game losing streak, winning 5 in a row with home games against an upstart UTEP team and Saint Bonaventure to close out the Rams non-con schedule. C Colton Iverson (14.5 PPG-8.9 RPG) has been making a strong case for an All-MWC team bid, while being accompanied by F Pierce Hornung (10.2 PPG-9.9 RPG) in the frontcourt.
6. Boise State: The Broncos are a bit of a wild card heading into the MWC season. Boise State still remains to be the only team to beat the Creighton Bluejays, yet has a loss to Utah? While it is unclear on how good the Broncos will be in the regular season, one thing is for sure; the Broncos will compete for a spot in the top 5 of the MWC. Such a large prediction is backed up by tandem guards Derrick Marks (19 PPG-3.5 APG) and Anthony Drmic (15.7 PPG-4.9 RPG).
7. Nevada: The Wolf Pack is slowly, but surely, gaining more and more support in Reno as Nevada has won 5 straight and is looking to extend that streak to 6 when they travel to Oregon in what could make or break the Wolf Pack's season.
8. Air Force: The Falcons are flying pretty low under the radar, with their only losses being "good losses" to Colorado, Wichita State and Florida. While there is nothing wrong with a "good loss", there is something wrong if your only wins are against mid majors. G Michael Lyons (19.6 PPG-5.5 RPG) needs to get more from his supporting cast if Air Force is going to make noise in the MWC and the Falcons can start by winning on the road at Richmond.
9. Fresno State: There Fresno State Bulldogs must have a long list of New Year's resolution and I can think of a few. First off, the Dogs' desperately need more than one player scoring more than 10 points, G Allen Huddleston (11.1 PPG-2.3 RPG) being the only one, also the Dogs' need to consider the jump to the Big West as they are 4-3 against Big West opponents.