The college basketball season is two weeks old and there have already been a lot of results that have caught every fan’s eye. Now that more Mountain West teams have played more games, we are starting to see who the contenders are and learn more about the teams we had questions about. Here are this week’s power rankings for men’s basketball:
1) Colorado State
The Rams easily remain atop the power rankings after winning the Paradise Jam tournament that saw them beat Creighton in the semifinals and overcome a deficit in the championship game to Northeastern. Colorado State has shown early on they can beat quality opponents, put away teams they are better than, and overcome any adversity they may face, which will all help them as the season goes on.
2) Utah State
One of the more positive surprises for the Mountain West this week was seeing Utah State win the Myrtle Beach Invitational. They took down Oklahoma 73-70 in the championship game and have won four in a row after losing its opener to UC Davis. This is the Aggies’ second early-season tournament win in the last three seasons. Beating Oklahoma shows that Utah State could put a good fight against anyone on its schedule, they have a couple more good non-conference games ahead of them against St. Mary’s and BYU, that could possibly avenge that opening night loss.
3) San Diego State
The Aztecs won a close one against Arizona State, 65-63, and then defeated UT-Arlington two days later. This is where many expected the Aztecs to be after their first four games and we shouldn’t dissect this team too much too early, because they have some very tough games coming up against Michigan, and it is still pretty early with this group having to replace the seniors that graduated off last year’s team.
Another surprise this year has been the Wyoming Cowboys, who are off to a 4-0 start. The Cowboys survived in overtime at Washington and won another close road game at Grand Canyon. Wyoming is still tops in the conference by allowing just 57.2 points per game, its steady defense has been key in its last two games, and keeping that performance up will help them come conference play.
5) Fresno State
Another undefeated team in the conference through the early portion of the schedule is the Fresno State Bulldogs. They added another win against Pepperdine late last night and appear to have set themselves up well with the rest of their non-conference schedule to get to double-digit wins before conference play begins. The Bulldogs have averaged to hold teams under 60 points per game thus far and much of that credit goes to Orlando Robinson inside the paint, who is averaging 19 points per game.
6) Boise State
The Broncos recovered after a tough loss against UC Irvine for a strong showing at the Charleston Classic. In their first game, they kept No. 16 St. Bonaventure close, only losing to the eventual tournament champions 67-61 and it was close throughout the game. They closed out the tournament with a 60-50 win against Ole Miss, which is an encouraging sign for Broncos fans.
The Runnin’ Rebels dropped both of their games in the Roman Main Event. They held then No. 4 Michigan close until late and then blew a double-digit lead against Wichita State, with some questionable officiating. UNLV had a chance to win both of those games, which is an encouraging sign for a team with a lot of new players. These were probably UNLV’s best chances at getting some resume-building wins, but these close games should help Kruger’s team come conference time.
8) New Mexico
The Lobos are another team with a good start, jumping to a 4-1 record. They have not had any standout wins yet, but that could change this week with a game against UAB and a possible matchup with undefeated San Francisco. We will learn more about New Mexico after the tournament in Las Vegas.
9) Air Force
The Falcons are off to a 4-1 start and you have to give them credit for the good start. But looking at their non-conference schedule, their wins have been against not impressive teams. Every team has their goals for the season and I think for Air Force, they want to stack some wins and build confidence with its young group.
10) San Jose State
There is no movement for the Spartans this week despite losing both games, a close one-point loss at Cal Baptist, and on the road against the top-10 Texas Longhorns. You have to give credit to Tim Miles because it looks like the Spartans are far more competitive this year than years prior. It will be a long process for Miles to make the Spartans a winner, but if San Jose State plays hard all year, they could pull off a few surprises.
The Wolf Pack are still at the bottom of the rankings after three straight bad losses over the past week. It is so confusing to see a team with the talent like Nevada, that had such high expectations, struggle so much out of the gate. They lost two games against very good WCC teams, Santa Clara and San Francisco, that a team like Nevada should beat. And last night they got blown out by South Dakota State. It is hard to see where this Wolf Pack team will go moving forward with teams like Washington, Pepperdine, and Grand Canyon on the schedule, that the Wolf Pack could lose too. Maybe it’s early-season jitters, but Nevada has been the most disappointing team so far this season.