MWC Power Rankings

By By Cody Brunner and By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

1. BYU (22-6, 11-2) Up next: Air Force 3/1

Get this: The Cougs were the leading non-ranked vote-getters in the ESPN/USA Today poll last week. Despite a loss Saturday at SDSU, BYU still jumped into the rankings this week at No. 25. Either nobody is paying attention to what is going on in the MWC or it is finally getting the respect it deserves. The Cougars’ resilient comeback win over New Mexico in The Pit on Tuesday shows they can win tough games on the road.

2. New Mexico (22-7, 9-5) Up next: UNLV 3/4

Despite losing to BYU on Tuesday, the Lobos are still one of the hottest teams in the conference, thanks to do-it-all hustler J.R. Giddens. Over the past seven games — six of which have been wins — Giddens has averaged a scorching 23.6 points per game. At this pace, New Mexico seems destined to be the No. 3 seed in the MWC tournament. We might see a preview of the tournament semifinal Tuesday when the Lobos face UNLV at home.

3. UNLV (21-6, 10-3) Up next: TCU 3/1

If New Mexico had held on against BYU, UNLV could’ve snagged a share of the MWC regular season title. Still, Lon Kruger’s posse has been consistent the whole year and will likely be the favorite to win the conference tourney considering they are playing at home, where it has won its last 10 games. UNLV’s Wink Adams will shoot until he misses, then shoot some more. Somehow, it works. Against SDSU on Tuesday, he was 8-of-19 with 23 points and the Rebs won.

4. Utah (15-11, 6-7) Up next: @ Wyoming 3/1

Jim Boylen wouldn’t admit it and neither would his players, but they’ve been getting the thick end of the shaft from officiating crews lately. Utah was whistled for 48 fouls over a two-game stretch last week and was called for 22 more against TCU on Wednesday. The Utes will either need to back off a little bit or pay somebody off. I’ve got $5.73 to my name right now, so it’s not going to be me. Anybody?

5. San Diego State (18-10, 8-6) Up next: CSU 3/1

All-MWC guarantee Lorrenzo Wade is as good as it gets in this league. He can shoot, drive, dunk, play D and rebound. On Saturday, he single-handedly buried BYU with a 28-point performance and the Aztecs left Cox Arena with a win. Wade’s 21-point effort wasn’t quite enough to get SDSU by UNLV on Tuesday, but he will be a one-man wrecking crew at the conference tournament.

6. Air Force (14-12, 6-7) Up next: @ BYU 3/1

I don’t think I would be going out on a limb if I said the Force isn’t going to win Saturday. The Falcons’ record away from home this season is 4-8, and the Marriott Center isn’t exactly travel-friendly. Even with a loss, Air Force remains in decent position for a No. 5 seed in the tourney. Although Utah and TCU both still have a road game at UNLV, the Force can look forward to two road games.

7. TCU (14-12, 6-7) Up next: Utah 3/1

TCU is an anomaly. It’ll beat teams, such as New Mexico, SDSU and Utah, then lose to a team such as Wyoming. It doesn’t make sense. No matter, though, because the Horned Frogs seem destined for the No. 7 seed and a meeting with UNLV in the tournament. With road games against UNLV and Air Force and a home game against BYU, TCU can only hope to avoid losing three straight before the postseason begins.

8. Wyoming (10-15, 3-9) Up next: UNLV 2/23

I was at a loss Wednesday night. Instead of televising a game people actually cared about, The MTN. elected to go with a riveting matchup between Wyoming and CSU. I would rather stare at a rock than waste my time on those two teams. The Cowboys might get by the play-in game, but we all know they aren’t going to get any further than that.

9. Colorado State (6-14, 0-6) Up next: @ SDSU 3/1

With road games against Utah and SDSU and a home contest against New Mexico, CSU’s chances of getting a win this conference season are looking more grim by the minute. Let’s face it. It’s not going to happen. Better luck next year, Rams. I’m sure the conference has a lovely parting gift for you.

Compiled by Cody Brunner