In two weeks the conference tournament will be starting and the Mountain West team’s quest to win a conference title will be underway. While some teams have their eyes set on bigger things, like making a run in the NCAA Tournament or getting ready for next season, there are still seeds to be played for in the next two weeks and a lot of important games to be played. Here are this week’s rankings after another eventful week in the Mountian West:
1) Boise State
The Broncos are back in the top spot after Wyoming’s loss and last night’s big win against San Diego State, which is a regular-season sweep for Boise State against San Diego State. The Broncos have continued to answer the call this season when their backs are against the wall or they have suffered a loss, they get back on track and get a big win. Boise State is on a three-game winning streak and is up two games on second-place Wyoming in the standings. The Broncos are on track to getting the top seed in the conference tournament if they win two of their last three games.
What a week for the Cowboys. They were ranked and celebrated their first ranking since 2015 by losing to New Mexico. They rebounded with an eight-point win against Air Force later that week. Wyoming faces Colorado State tonight and it still has to face San Diego State for the first time this season in a week. The Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules to end the regular season but are still playing well enough to win out and get the top seed in the Mountain West tournament.
3) San Diego State
The Aztecs had a five-game winning streak snapped by Boise State last night, which is the second time Boise State had defeated San Diego State this season. Both games were close nail-biters, but in this loss, and many San Diego State losses, its offense struggle to put points on the board. The Aztecs cannot win these close games against the top Mountain West teams without breaking 60 points. Matt Bradley, Trey Pulliam, the rest of the San Diego State core will need to find a rhythm offensively quickly.
4) Colorado State
The Rams suffered a bad loss against UNLV. While the Runnin’ Rebels appear to be getting better, the loss is bad in terms of the Rams’ NCAA Tournament resume. The good news for Colorado State is that its last three games, Wyoming, at Utah State, and Boise State are all opportunities for Colorado State to add some more conference wins to its resume. Compared to other Mountain West teams, the Rams also have a strong non-conference resume they can fall back on.
5) Utah State
The Aggies have had the definition of an up and down season. Just a few weeks ago they appeared on the bubble as a possible fifth bid for the Mountain West. Now, they are 16-13 and last night’s win against New Mexico ended a four-game losing streak. Despite their struggles, you cannot count out the Aggies as a possible bid-stealer in the conference tournament.
The hottest team in the Mountain West might be the Runnin’ Rebels. UNLV has season sweeps of Colorado State and Nevada and is on a three-game winning streak. UNLV appears to be peaking as the season ends and is playing its best basketball. The Runnin’ Rebels look healthy and will need to be healthy in order to make a run at the Mountain West tournament, which is in their home gym.
7) Fresno State
The Bulldogs got a much-needed win against Air Force to stop a four-game losing streak. In its most recent skid, Fresno State did not break 60 points. As much as its defense has carried Fresno State this season, it will have to find some consistency on offense in order to be taken seriously as a dark horse threat in the conference tournament next month.
The Wolf Pack were just swept by its Silver State rival for the first time since 2012-2013. This came after Nevada has two easy wins against San Jose State. Injuries have plagued the Wolf Pack this season, but overall their play has been underwhelming. Grant Sherfield is still having an All-Mountain West caliber year, but that’s about all Nevada fans can write home about.
9) New Mexico
The Lobos went from beating ranked Wyoming to losing to San Jose State, which seems like something a Mountain West team would do. In all seriousness, this shows you the parity in the league and that anyone can win, or lose, on any given night. New Mexico has been on the short end of some close games and has had some learning experiences in its first year under Richard Pitino. Expect New Mexico to take a step in the right direction next season.
10) San Jose State
The Spartans finally did it. They won their first conference on Sunday with a 71-55 win over New Mexico. This was one of the best opportunities the rest of the season for San Jose State to get its first win, and they were able to take care of New Mexico rather easily. The Spartans have another shot of getting win number two when they face Air Force next week.
11) Air Force
The Falcons are on an eight-game losing streak and most of their games have not been close. Games this week against New Mexico and San Jose State are winnable, but momentum is not on Air Force’s side.