NCAAB – West: New Mexico leading the MWCBy David A.
The Mountain West Conference is making a name for itself as its top teams New Mexico, Colorado State, UNLV and San Diego State are all playing well in both conference and intra-conference matchups. Currently, the New Mexico Lobos lead the conference with an overall record of 19-3 and a conference record of 6-1. Tied for second place in the conference are Colorado State and Air Force each with records of 5-2. Just two games back are San Diego State and UNLV.
Last week was a crazy week in the conference with Boise State defeating a much more talented UNLV team wire to wire. If that upset was not enough, Air Force then went out and upset San Diego State, which at the time was ranked No. 22 in the nation. The win lifted Air Force to its current second place tie in the conference at 5-2.
During the preseason, UNLV and San Diego State were tagged as favorites to win the conference, but both have not played well in conference games and are just 4-3. The only team that has not been hit by an upset or mediocre play is the Lobos. Colorado State has played well losing only to New Mexico and San Diego State and by only a combined 12 points.
On Monday, a new national ranking was released. New Mexico moved up in both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll and the Associated Press Poll, while San Diego State slipped from the top 25 in the AP poll but hung on in the coaches poll.
New Mexico is now No. 16 in the nation in the coaches poll a move up of 6 spots from their No. 22 position a week ago. In the AP poll, the Lobos moved into the No. 15 spot up from their No. 22 ranking in the AP poll last week. No other team in the Mountain West Conference is ranked in the AP’s Top 25.
In USA Today poll, the Aztecs of San Diego State fell from No. 20 to No. 25 in the new poll following their upset loss to Air Force. They are tied in the No. 25 spot with the Pittsburgh Panthers. With their loss to Air Force, the Aztecs fell to No. 36 in the AP poll.
Colorado State has moved up to No. 28 in the coaches poll as well as the AP poll. The Rebels of UNLV dropped down to No. 36 in each of the polls after they suffered an upset against Boise State.
Important games this week see the first place Lobos facing both Air Force at home and then UNLV away, which could either cement the Lobos position at the top of the conference or bring them back to the pack. Second place Colorado State will have to face the Aztecs of San Diego State at home this week.
Following this week’s round of conference games there should be a clearer picture as to what team rules the MWC or it could be as crazy a week as the last one and make the standings even cloudier.