1. Wyoming: 13-0
Leonard Washington, F:15.1 PPG-8.8 RPG
Larry Nance, F: 11.2 PPG-6.8 RPG
Josh Adams, G: 5.8 PPG-1.8 APG
Riley Grabau, G: 5.5 PPG-2.7 APG
Derrious Gilmore, G: 11.8 PPG-3.2 APG
At first glance you see one of American's last four undefeated team, so inconclusively you'd think their the inevitable MWC Champs, though once you see how the team has gotten to a perfect 13-0 record you may think twice before betting on the Cowboys. The Pokes are a talented team no question, though when the Cowboys best wins are SMU, Illinois State and Colorado and that hardly warrants them to be No.1. Still, undefeated is undefeated though one area of concern for the Cowboys is the loss an important part of their team, in G Luke Martinez, that largely helped the Pokes remain undefeated. The absence of Martinez could be enough to give the Cowboys their first loss, even as soon as Boise State.
2. San Diego State: 12-2
Chase Tapley, G: 15.7 PPG-3.7 RPG
Xavier Thames, G: 10.2 PPG-2.8 APG
JJ O'Brien, F: 6.1 PPG-3.9 RPG
Jamaal Franklin, G: 17.2 PPG-9.9 RPG
Deshawn Stephens, F: 6.9 PPG-5.2 RPG
The Aztecs enter the conference season with a good record, just not very good wins. Indiana State and UCLA look like quality wins as both teams are starting to heat up. The SDSU backcourt is one of the better in the MWC with future NBA pick G Jamaal Franklin. The Aztecs rise to power will come in the MWC season when they take on marquee opponents such as Wyoming, UNLV and New Mexico and will overall finish the season as 3rd straight MWC champions.
3. UNLV: 13-2
Anthony Bennett, F: 19.9 PPG-9.1 RPG
Bryce Dejean-Jones, G: 9.2 PPG-4.3 APG
Anthony Marshall, G: 9.8 PPG-5.4 APG
Katin Reinhardt: 10.2 PPG-2.9 APG
Khem Birch, F: 9.2 PPG-7.2 RPG
Conference Outlook: The Runnin' Rebels may seem like a slight disappointment, given the pre-season expectations, but when F Mike Moser comes back to the starting 5, watch out for UNLV. The Rebels lead the MWC in assists, with 18 per game, and is second in scoring and rebounding, the return of Moser will make the Rebels even more dangerous and UNLV can start by getting a standout win at New Mexico Wednesday.
4. New Mexico: 13-2
Kendall Williams, G:14.9 PPG-4.7 APG
Alex Kirk, C: 11.3 PPG-7.5 RPG
Tony Snell, G: 11.1 PPG-3 APG
Chad Adams, F: 6 PPG-4 RPG
Hugh Greenwood, G: 7.4 PPG-5.1 RPG
The New Mexico Lobos have been one of the more inconsistent team in the last two weeks of non conference play. They lose their first game of the season to South Dakota State, then go Cincinnati and get the win, then, out of nowhere, the Lobos get blown out by an mediocre Saint Louis team. The only thing I see coming from this is the only revealing weakness of the Lobos: the play bad outside The Pit. I know they won at Cincinnati, but that was only by one point, 55-54, they get thwacked at Saint Louis win by slim margins against New Mexico State, George Mason, UConn and even went into overtime at Indiana State. Their road weakness could hurt them throughout the MWC season.
5. Colorado State: 13-2
Wes Eikmeier, G: 10.8 PPG-2.3 APG
Dorian Green, G: 12.7 PPG-3.8 APG
Colton Iverson, C: 14.7 PPG-8.9 RPG
Pierce Hornung, F: 9.6 PPG-10.2 RPG
Greg Smith, F: 11.8 PPG-5.6 RPG
The Colorado State Rams ended the non conference season nicely, stringing off 7 straight with wins over UTEP and Virginia Tech. The Rams have been a middle of the line team all year and are looking to prove their worth in the conference season and can start by beating San Diego State in their conference opener. If CSU can get through January with only one or two losses, then they will make a strong case for an NCAA Tournament bid come March.
6. Boise State: 12-2
Jeff Elorriaga, G: 11.5 PPG-3.6 RPG
Anthony Drmic, G: 15.4 PPG-4.8 RPG
Derrick Marks, G: 16.3 PPG-4 APG
Igor Hadziomerovic, G: 6.5 PPG-2.8 RPG
Ryan Watkins, F: 9.1 PPG-7.2 RPG
The Boise State Broncos are much like the Colorado State Rams, a middle of the road team who will flourish in the conference season. Some argue that Boise State has already proven themselves as contenders, with wins LSU and Creighton, and without a doubt they are a good team, though when they can compete in the MWC has yet to be seen. A win over Wyoming would certainly boost their stock.
7. Nevada: 9-5
Deonte Burton, G: 15.7 PPG-3 APG
Jordan Burris, G: 8.1 PPG-4.3 RPG
Malik Story, G: 16.8 PPG-3.6 RPG
Kevin Panzer, F: 5.6 PPG-4.4 RPG
Cole Huff, G: 5.8 PPG-4.3 RPG
It seems like the conference contenders are cut after No.6. On the flip side Nevada has had a much better ending than start to the non conference season. The Wolf Pack won their last 5 of 6 before finally running out of steam at Oregon. Scoring depth has been a problem for Nevada all season and will continue to hurt the Pack until they can find a third scorer.
8. Air Force: 8-4
Micheal Lyons, G: 19.6 PPG-5.2 RPG
Mike Fitzgerald, F: 7 PPG-3.6 RPG
Taylor Broekhuis, C: 10.6 PPH-4.3 RPG
DeLovell Earls, F: 3.4 PPG-2.9 RPG
Todd Fletcher, G: 9.3 PPG-4.1 APG
While the season certainly isn't loss for the Falcons, it doesn't look good. The Falcons have no good wins and the only good teams they have played, Colorado, Wichita State, Florida, and Richmond were all losses and arguably those are the level of opponents they will be playing in the MWC.
9. Fresno State: 6-7
Tyler Johnson, G: 10.8 PPG-3.5 RPG
Kevin Olekaibe, G: 8.5 PPG-2.2 RPG
Jerry Brown, F: 6.5 PPG-4.5 RPG
Aaron Anderson, G: 2.1 PPG-1.3 RPG
Robert Upshaw, C: 5.9 PPG-4.4 RPG
The only advice I can give the Bulldogs are to buy spring football game tickets so that the basketball team can see what its like to play offense. Besides being the only team in the MWC with a losing record, the Bulldogs average only 62.2 PPG and a field goal pct of .400. For some serious advice, Fresno State can do what Air Force did last season and that was build off of good wins and get as close as possible to .500 in conference play and ya gotta give em' a break, it is their first season in the MWC.
End of Conference Season Predictions:
1. San Diego State, 5 Seed NCAA Tournament
2. UNLV, 6 Seed NCAA Tournament
3. New Mexico, 6 Seed NCAA Tournament
4. Wyoming, 8 Seed NCAA Tournament
5. Colorado State, Bubble, 12 Seed NCAA Tournament
6. Boise State, Bubble, NIT
8. Air Force
9. Fresno State