As we approach the penultimate week of February and creek towards the Mountain West Tournament in early March, let’s dive into this week’s power rankings, which has a shakeup in the top-4 after another good week of hoops!
1. San Diego State (21-5, 12-2)
Last week: 1
Skinny: In its only game last week, San Diego State ... certainly played a basketball game, if you can even call it that. The Aztecs scored 45 points in the rockiest of rock fights, but also held Fresno State to 43. It looks better in the W-L, but if you like a low-scoring, good defense/ugly offense brand of hoops (from both sides), that was definitely the game for you!
Last week: 3
Skinny: Boise State was just points away from being 0-2 on the week, 19-8 on the season and deeper in the bubble than it previously intended. Instead, they went 2-0 with close wins over Colorado State and UNLV, improve to 21-6 on the season and are still one of the Mountain West’s top at-large candidates. Boise State’s win over Colorado State was a two-point road win while it fought off the Runnin’ Rebels at home on Sunday night.
3. Utah State (21-7, 10-5)
Last week: 4
Skinny: Utah State! In a game it desperately to improve its tournament resume, they secured it after escaping a 21-point deficit. They only knocked down three second-half triples, but held Nevada to 19.2 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes after it sunk 13 of their first 14 shots! They secured their seventh Quad 2 win of the season and will have a couple more bites at the apple! The Aggies needed this one ... badly.
4. Nevada (20-7, 10-4)
Last week: 2
Skinny: It started with Will Baker (somehow?) piling on 22 straight points to begin the game, with Nevada sinking 13 of their first 14 shots and jumping out to a 21-point first-half lead — 15, heading into halftime. It ended with Utah State outscoring Nevada 43-19 in the second-half — including 22-9 over the game’s final 12:21 — in arguably the worst half all season for the Wolf Pack. They now drop three spots in the NET and two more in Lunardi’s latest update, so it’s not incredibly detrimental. But this a game the Wolf Pack would like to have back, dropping to 3-5 in Quad 1 games this season.
5. New Mexico (20-7, 7-7)
Last week: 6
Skinny: New Mexico got Jaelen House back on Friday, but Morris Udeze and Jamal Mashburn stole the show. The pair combined for 58 points on 80 percent shooting, including Udeze tallying 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting with 12 rebounds. The Lobos posted a season-high 143 points per 100 possessions — including 11 more points per 100 than every other game this season — with a 67.0 effective field goal percentage in its 28-point victory. Maybe the train is back on the track?
6. San Jose State (16-11, 7-7)
Last week: 5
Skinny: San Jose State drops to No. 6 this week yet again after their 28-point loss to a desperate New Mexico squad. The Spartans had, by far, their worst defensive showing of the season and have yet to be two games above .500 in MW Play in 2023. It has a chance to rid its demons on Tuesday on the road against Nevada, who have yet to lose a home game this season.
7. Air Force (14-14, 5-10)
Last week: 8
Skinny: The Falcons, who dropped seven of eight heading into Monday, split their two-game week against Utah State and Wyoming; they lost by 15 on the road to the Aggies followed by picking up a six-point win on the road against a depleted Wyoming program. It’s been a difficult last four weeks for Air Force, but they’re in position to pick up their first two-game win streak since mid. Jan with a game against Fresno State Tuesday.
8. UNLV (16-11, 5-10)
Last week: 9
Skinny: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to figure out UNLV, who remain the most perplexing team in the Mountain West (in my view). It looked clunky and chaotic, but UNLV was mere points away from picking arguably their biggest win of the season Sunday evening against Boise State. They’ve dropped to 5-10 in Mountain West play and have now lost four of their last five — three of which were winnable games.
9. Colorado State (12-15, 4-10)
Last week: 10
Skinny: Colorado State’s now won two of their last three after losing five straight, capped by its improbable 60-57 win over Fresno State over the weekend. The Rams trailed practically the entire second half after it was on the wrong end of a 15-0 run, but they raced back and scored four points from the charity stripe in the final five seconds of the game. It wasn’t pretty, but Colorado State strung together one of its best defensive performances of the season, allowing less than 90 points per 100 possessions for 5th time all season!
10. Fresno State (9-17, 5-10)
Last week: 7
Skinny: Fresno State will now be without one of their best players, Isaih Moore, for the rest of the season (hip), he announced via Twitter on Saturday. Moore averaged 11.5 points and 7.3 rebounds, but has not played since Feb. 7 after playing through the hip injury he suffered. This is a big blow for the Bulldogs, who suffered two close losses last week and are looking to climb up the standings ahead of the Mountain West Tournament.
11. Wyoming (8-18, 3-11)
Last week: 11
Skinny: The Pokes snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday with their biggest win of the season over New Mexico, albeit without Jaelen House. Though this was likely a big morale boost for a program’s who’s gone through it the last few weeks.