Four teams in the Mountain West are on winning streaks of six or more games. Colorado State (with eight wins), Utah State, Wyoming, and Air Force have all put together winning streaks that have them atop the Mountain West. In total, those four schools have won 26 straight games which has them all at the top of the conference standings.
It’s one of the best starts from the conference as a whole in a while, but some of the competition these teams have faced have been inferior. Regardless, winning is better than losing. Let’s see how the teams in the Mountain West stack up in this week’s rankings:
1) Colorado State
The Rams are still in first place with a pair of wins after its tournament win in the Virgin Islands. Colorado State’s offense continues to lead the way as they scored 88 and 86 points, respectively, in both wins this past week. Their schedule picks up this week with a home game at St. Mary’s and a couple of SEC teams, Mississippi State and Alabama, looming as the month goes on.
2) Utah State
The Aggies continue to impress after their opening night loss at home. Justin Bean now leads the Mountain West in scoring with 22.6 points per game and in rebounding with 12.9 per game. Easy wins for the Aggies over UT-Arlington and Carroll College. Utah State has a big test tonight when they host St. Mary’s, a win over the Gaels could be key in getting the Aggies back to the NCAA Tournament for the third time.
One of the most pleasant surprises this year in the Mountain West has been the 6-0 Wyoming Cowboys. With the help of Hunter Maldonado (19.4 PPG) and Graham Ike (18.8 PPG), the Cowboys joined the Rams as the only undefeated teams left in the Mountain West. They host Denver tonight and McNeese State this weekend, and have a great chance at being 8-0 before their road trip to Arizona next week.
4) San Diego State
Without question, the Aztecs have played the toughest schedule of all the teams in the Mountain West thus far. At 5-2, it’s not time to worry too much about San Diego State’s inconsistencies on offense. Their losses to BYU and USC are not bad losses and they have a chance to get a big win Saturday against Michigan. Expect the Aztecs to be clicking once Mountain West play starts and be a big threat to challenge Colorado State.
5) Fresno State
Last week the Bulldogs lost its first game of the season on the road against California, but they had a nice neutral court win against Santa Clara, so it was a decent week for Fresno State. A dominant win against San Diego this week has them back on the winning side with a road game against undefeated San Francisco coming up. Fresno State still leads the Mountain West with an average of 57 points allowed this season.
6) Air Force
The Falcons continue to win and continue to impress sitting at 6-1. They already have more wins than last season (5) and have an opportunity to pick up more wins before the end of the new year. They host Army this weekend and have a couple of road games before they get tested against Utah State in their first Mountain West game of the year.
The Wolf Pack have picked off three straight wins after starting 1-4. Double-digit wins against George Mason, Washington, and Pepperdine have all been encouraging games for Nevada after the tough start. They have two tough road games coming up in Texas when they face North Texas on Saturday and UT Arlington next week. Grant Sherfield has scored more than 20 points in the last three games and his performance will be key in Nevada’s success the rest of the season.
8) New Mexico
The Lobos passed the century mark in their big win against in-state rival New Mexico State earlier in the week. They play them again next week in The Pit. This could be a big boost to the Lobos after a tough loss to Towson at the Las Vegas Invitational. Both Jamal Mashburn Jr (20.4 PPG) and Jaelen House (18.4 PPG) are top-10 in the conference in scoring. That duo will be important for the Lobos this season and how successful Richard Pitino is in his first year.
The Broncos dropped in the rankings after a 46-39 loss at home to CSU-Bakersfield, after entering the game as double-digit favorites, They followed it up with a 86-82 loss at home to Saint Louis where Boise State shot 46% from the free-throw line. It’s been tough for the Broncos to find consistency on offense without a Derrick Alston Jr type scorer, but given how close they played a good Saint Louis team, there is hope that the Broncos can turn it around once conference play starts.
The Runnin’ Rebels have lost four of its last five games since starting 3-0. Their lone win in that stretch is against Division III Whittier College. A blowout loss at home to UCLA and a rough showing in their first true road game at SMU has the scarlet and gray down in the rankings this week. Undefeated San Francisco is looming and UNLV will have to improve defensively and find some consistency on offense if they want to have a good finish in the Mountain West.
11) San Jose State
The Spartans are a .500 basketball team after their first six games, which is a great sign for a program looking to build positive momentum. San Jose State has some games against quality WCC teams later this month that could get them ready for Mountain West play and show if they can compete for some wins in conference play this year.