After week 12, I believe we can all agree, we are in for one heck of a March. 13 of the top 25 teams have loss this week, including the No.15 New Mexico Lobos. This year has seen more parity than in recent years. It has been made clear this is no "Kentucky" this year or any team that is far dominant than any other. It may be a stretch to say, but any team in the top 25 could very well in the big dance, which is good news for MWC as the furthest any MWC team has gotten in this century has been just the sweet 16. If all previous statements are bologna, at least this next one will be more believable, the week 13 AP will look nothing like it did the week before and will likely feature UNM and SDSU.
1. New Mexico: After New Mexico's futile offense output against San Diego State, I really hate putting the Lobos at No.1, no disrespect to Lobos fans. New Mexico scored only 34 points in the whole game, a low that hasn't been reached for New Mexico in this century. G Kendall Williams (14.1 PPG-4.5 APG) was the only Lobo to score in double digits, he had 14. The Lobos have a pretty easy week 13, playing at Wyoming then coming home for Nevada.
2. San Diego State: The Aztecs got a much needed victory over the Lobos saturday, putting themselves back into the thick of the race after dropping 2 straight in week 12. G Jamaal Franklin (17.4 PPG-9.4 RPG-3.4 APG) has been the anchor of the offense so far this year, but G Chase Tapley (14.6 PPG-3.3 RPG) has played more of a backup role in terms of leading scorer when Franklin isn't on the court. The Aztecs too have an easy week 13, with a road trip to a recently rising Air Force team and at home against a recently lowering Boise State team.
3. Colorado State: The Rams lost a close one in Albuquerque last Wednesday, losing to the Lobos 66-61, the same score of the Rams game against the Rebels, which is why I have the Rams ranked ahead of the Rebels. C-F Colton Iverson (14.3 PPG- 9.5 RPG) continues to impress as he grabbed a total of 27 boards in week 13 as he proves why he is worthy of All MWC First Team status and is worthy of maybe being drafted in 2013.
4. UNLV: F Anthony Bennett (18.4 PPG-8.6 RPG) has arguably been one of the best freshmen forwards east of Los Angeles this year, though will not be a long term member of the Rebels roster as he is likely a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. The Rebels must have a severe case of altitude sickness as their only losses are to New Mexico and Colorado State and yet they have won at home against Wyoming and on the road against SDSU. A better word to describe the Rebels would be inconsistent.
5. Air Force: The Falcons have actually been a pleasant surprise to the MWC season. The Falcons have reeled off 3 straight wins after getting smashed by in-state rival CSU and are sitting at 5th place with a 3-2 MWC record. If G Michael Lyons (18.2 PPG-4.6 APG) and Air Force can win at home against San Diego State in week 13, then the word "bubble team" will become a much more common phrase around Colorado Springs and could likely replace Wyoming or Boise State as one of the 5 teams that could make it to the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
6. Boise State: What has happened to the Broncos? The conference season brought so much promise for the Broncos, being placed as an 9seed in Joe Lombardi's bracketology, a 12-2 record with a win over No.11 Creighton. Then the wheels came off and the Broncos has lost 3 of their last 4 games, including a saturday loss to Nevada, which may make the NCAA selection committee think twice before selecting the Broncos. The Broncos season is far from over and are still in contention for post-season play, though they way the Broncos have been playing, it doesn't look to bright in Boise.
7. Wyoming: A more disappointing team in MWC play than Boise State has to be the Wyoming Cowboys. The Cowboys offense has taken a serve hit with the absence of G Luke Martinez (14.5 PPG-3 RPG), averaging only 52 PPG in conference play. Much like the Broncos, the Cowboys have lost their last 3 out of 4 games and has provided last place Fresno State with their only conference win of the season so far. The contention for NCAA Tournament play is quickly dissipating for the Cowboys if the Pokes can't get their offense in gear.
8. Nevada: The Wolf Pack's next 3 games will likely decide if Nevada can stay above .500 the rest of the season as they play at New Mexico and UNLV, then at home against Colorado State. The Wolf Pack have been trying the 2011-12 Missouri approach by starting 4 guards and one forward, though this season has proven that strategy to be very unsuccessful.
9. Fresno State: The Bulldogs were riding a one game winning streak high after beating Wyoming for their first, and currently only, win of the MWC season, before getting back to their losing ways. The Dogs have reached a new low this season, with their season stats dipping into the low 300's, PPG being the best at 310th in the nation. The Wolf Pack travels to Fort Colins to take on Colorado State, then come home to face UNLV.