1. Nevada Wolf Pack (20-4, 9-1)
The Wolf Pack are projected as a #8 seed in Joe Lunardi’s most recent Bracketology projections, a ranking that may rise if Eric Musselman and company can continue to roll through the Mountain West slate like they have. Nevada can score with just about anyone in the country, but their defensive intensity must improve if they want to make a run in the NCAA Tournament.
2. Boise State Broncos (19-4, 9-2)
Boise State has picked up their third three-game winning streak since the start of conference play, which has only been interrupted by tough road defeats at Wyoming and Nevada. The Broncos will take their show on the road again to New Mexico and Utah State in the next week, which leaves potential for two more hostile environments to get the better of them.
3. Wyoming Cowboys (15-8, 6-4)
The Cowboys double-overtime win over Nevada handed the Wolf Pack their first loss of the conference slate and further worked to cloud the hierarchy in the conference picture some more. Wyoming looked to be a bit out of steam against Fresno State, as their offensive show cooled off for the first time in the last five outings. However, they remain a lurking contender.
4. Fresno State Bulldogs (16-8, 6-5)
Head coach Rodney Terry’s squad still needs to improve mightily on the boards, where their sheer lack of rebounding is undoubtedly going to catch up with them down the line. What’s saved the Bulldogs in most scenarios up to this point is their steady balance of scoring, which includes four (and almost five) players who average double-figures on a nightly basis.
5. New Mexico Lobos (12-12, 7-4)
Like most teams in the league, the Lobos have been unable to avoid some road setbacks, which really shows how much the magic of a place like “The Pit” remains like a comfort blanket for this program. After a brutal start to the regular season, New Mexico has really settled into one personality (most nights) as a team and it’s beginning to paying dividends.
6. Utah State Aggies (13-11, 6-5)
This rankings may have more to do with the way that Utah State has rallied, since their four-game conference losing skid almost sent them spiraling into the conference cellar. The Aggies may have regrouped on the fly but their new four opponents stand as tall tasks. Wyoming (away), Boise State (home), New Mexico (away) and Nevada (home) will humble this team fast.
7. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (16-7, 5-5)
With a return to the high-octane offensive approach (UNLV currently averages 86.0 points per game), the Runnin’ Rebels are definitely beginning to find their footing under second-year head coach Marvin Menzies. The program has developed a new flow and it seems to fit their deceiving skilled depth chart. Stability in conference play is the key to it all now.
8. San Diego State Aztecs (13-8, 5-5)
The Aztecs have been as difficult of a team as any to get a gauge on, since just about every one of the team’s games seem to involved a rapid swing of emotions at some point. If San Diego State builds a big lead, they often almost hand it away and vice versa for when they fall into some giant holes. Brian Dutcher is searching for consistency with this group.
9. Colorado State Rams (10-15, 3-9)
There’s no doubt that the recent turmoil (and now administrative leave) of head coach Larry Eustachy could have an effective on this squad, which always could be for better or for worse. The Rams looked to have a bit more fight on Saturday night against Nevada, but they settled for their sixth straight loss. Things are not looking good in Fort Collins right now.
10. Air Force Falcons (10-15, 2-7)
The Falcons have dropped three straight after a strong win over Colorado State in Fort Collins and the team seems to be trending backwards again, despite showing some signs earlier this season in improvement. Air Force is still struggling to develop playamakers on the offensive side of things, a key reason for their bottom-fifty scoring offense nationally.
11. San Jose State Spartans (3-19, 0-11)
Another one of the country’s worst overall offensive units, San Jose State still hasn’t found a victory since December 21st, when they knocked of Santa Clara in a road upset. The Spartans are still too much Ryan Welage and not enough of everyone else, but that’s something that won’t change anytime soon. Moral victories have become a-dime-a-dozen for this group.