It is all but over for the MWC title chase. Week 16 provided Colorado State with an opportunity to take or tie the lead in the MWC, but instead they fell on their behinds and are now 2 games back of 1st place New Mexico. The Lobos cruise into week 17 with a comfortable 2-game lead over 2nd place CSU and have only easy games left on their schedule. Might as well start up the buses now, because New Mexico practically has their 2nd straight MWC championship all but wrapped up.
1. New Mexico: New Mexico has done it. They could have seen their lead over the MWC dissipate but they rose up and overcame their final roadblock in Colorado State. The inside-outside combo of C Alex Kirk (11.4 PPG-8 RPG) and G Kendall Williams (14.4 PPG-4.6 APG) were absolutely ecstatic in their game against CSU. Kirk had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds; while the star of the show, Williams, had a career high 46 points! And in what fashion too, most important game of the Lobos' season and Williams goes and has the best game of his career. Games at home against SDSU and Wyoming should make for an easy week 17 for the Lobos.
2. UNLV: The Runnin' Rebels have came on strong these last couple of weeks, winning their last 3, and are in position to win their 5th straight with games against Nevada and Boise State in week 17. I wouldn't hold your breath, but with a current top-15 RPI rankings and a victory over No.22 Colorado State, UNLV could crack the top 25. Even if they don't, this recent surge will certainly help their seeding come March.
3. Colorado State: Poor Colorado State: just when they were on the cusp of MWC glory they fall flat on their faces and lose 2 in a row in week 16. Fear not Rams, there is still much opportunity for success in the coming weeks. Games against Fresno State, Boise State, Wyoming and Nevada should give the Rams 3 or 4 wins to wrap up the regular season. While a MWC regular season championship may not be in the cards for the Rams, Colorado State still has a chance to impress in the MWC tournament and the NCAA Tournament. The Rams must work on defense though.
4. San Diego State: The Aztecs look to attempt the impossible when they try to get the sweep and give the Lobos their first home court loss of the MWC season. New Mexico coming off a big win and thoughts of revenge still in their heads probably won't allow SDSU to get by. If SDSU can pull of the upset, their dreams of re-entering the top 25 could still be plausible. G Jamaal Franklin (17.3 PPG-9.1 RPG) needs more help on the scoring end besides G Chase Tapley (13.7 PPG-3.2 RPG) if they look to go deep in the post season.
5. Boise State: The Broncos have, once again, re-entered the bubble with a current 6-6 record in the MWC and a 18-8 overall record. The chance for Boise State to make the NCAA Tournament is still alive, especially if they can get wins over CSU, UNLV and SDSU. Even if they can't convert there is still opportunity in the MWC tournament to get good wins over those teams, and maybe even New Mexico. Keep on keeping on Boise State, and don't let any teams know you're on the verge of bursting the bubble.
6. Air Force: The Falcons look to get their nightmarish February over with, as they sit with a 2-4 record in that month. With the 16th best assists average and 11th best FG% in the nation, NIT CBI or CIT play is still in the cards for the Falcons. At this point, any sort of post-season play would be a good note to end on in year one of the Dave Pilipovich era.
7. Wyoming: Boy, if you were to tell me Wyoming was going to go 4-9 in MWC play in the 17th week, especially after their 13-0 start, I'd thought you were nuts. This is no hypothetical, but instead the ugly reality for the Wyoming Cowboys. Post-season play of any kind is now slipping away for the Cowboys and it is all because of the absence of G Luke Martinez. Hope you feel proud, Martinez, you literally let the whole team down.
8. Nevada: The Wolf Pack's first year in the MWC is proving to be a tough adjustment for Nevada and the departure of G Malik Story (16.4 PPG-3.5 RPG) doesn't make their 2nd year look any easier. A loss to Fresno State in week 16 has Nevada now stuck with the Bulldogs tied for last in the MWC.
9. Fresno State: Bulldogs begin spring football training on Monday. "Thank God", says every Fresno State fan.