Men’s basketball MWC rankings

By Paige Fieldsted, Staff Writer

No. 1 BYU Cougars (24-6 overall, 12-4 MWC)
BYU was one of three teams to share the regular season Mountain West Conference title. This is the third year in a row BYU has been regular season conference champions. The Cougars only saw losses to then-No. 6 Wake Forest and No. 20 Arizona State before losing to the co-champs Utah and New Mexico on their respective home floors. UNLV is the only conference opponent BYU didn’t earn at least one win against. The Cougars lead the conference in a number of categories including scoring, scoring margin, field goal percentage, rebounding and assists. Senior Lee Cummard leads the team with 16 points and six rebounds.

No. 2 Utah Utes (21-9 overall, 12-4 MWC)
The Utes rattled off an eight-game win streak that spanned nearly a month in MWC play. Utah featured one of the hardest schedules in college basketball this season and walked away with impressive wins against top 25 teams such as Gonzaga and LSU. The Utes also beat Oregon, giving the Utes the No. 9 RPI in the nation. Utah big man Luke Nevill has been key to their success as he averages 17 points and nine rebounds per game, and was recently named the MWC Player of the Year. The Utes lead the conference in free throw percentage, rebounds, blocked shots and holding opponents to low rebounding.

No. 3 New Mexico Lobos (21-10 overall, 12-4 MWC)
New Mexico earned a share of the MWC title and also beat Cal State Northridge, which won the Big West regular season conference championships. The Lobos also beat Mississippi and Oral Roberts out of conference play. New Mexico finished the MWC season with a five-game win streak with wins over Utah, TCU, San Diego State, Wyoming and Colorado State that propelled the Lobos to the top of the conference. New Mexico leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage and is second in scoring margin and assists. The Lobos are led by senior Tony Danridge, who averages 15 points, four rebounds and two assists per game.

No. 4 San Diego State Aztecs (21-8 overall, 11-5 MWC)
San Diego State closed out its regular season with a three-game win streak but fell a game short of the three-way tie for first place atop the conference. San Diego State beat Big West Conference champion Cal State Northridge and beat top MWC teams, including New Mexico and Utah at home. The Aztecs lead the conference in holding opponents to low scoring, steals and offensive rebounds. Senior Kyle Spain leads San Diego State with 14 points and five rebounds per game.

No. 5 UNLV Rebels (21-9 overall, 9-7 MWC)
UNLV opened its season with a 13-2 record that featured wins against UTEP, Santa Clara, Arizona and Louisville. UNLV won games against all three of the conference champions with home wins against New Mexico, Utah and BYU. The Rebels also did something no other MWC team did and beat BYU in Provo. UNLV leads the conference in 3-pointers made and number of turnovers forced and is second in blocked shots and steals. The Rebels are led by Wink Adams, who averages 14 points, four rebounds and three assists per game.

No. 6 Wyoming Cowboys (18-12 overall, 7-9 MWC)
Wyoming started its season with a six-game home winning streak that included wins over Texas State and Denver. Five of Wyoming’s seven wins came at home as it beat San Diego State, UNLV, Colorado State, Air Force and TCU in the Arena Auditorium. Wyoming is second in the conference in scoring and rebounding. Senior Brandon Ewing leads the conference in scoring and assists, averaging 19 and five per game, respectively.

No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs (14-16 overall, 5-11 MWC)
The Horned Frogs’ season saw wins over well-known teams such as Texas A&M, Wichita State and Texas Tech. In MWC play, TCU was able to get wins over conference opponents Air Force, Wyoming, UNLV and San Diego State, but the Frogs were also blown out in 11 games, in which they lost by an average of 12 points. Senior Kevin Langford leads the Horned Frogs with 14 points and five rebounds per game, while junior Buljan Zvonko is ranked second in the conference in rebounding, averaging eight per game.

No. 8 Colorado State Rams (9-21 overall, 4-12 MWC)
Although the Rams were unable to finish with a winning season, Colorado State caused panic in some of the top MWC teams as they forced overtime and double-overtime against co-champions Utah and New Mexico, respectively. The Rams also kept things close in other conference match-ups as they lost tight games to UNLV, Wyoming and BYU by fewer than five points. Colorado State is ranked second in the conference in offensive rebounds. The Rams are led by senior Marcus Walker, who averages 17 points, two assists and one steal per game.

No. 9 Air Force Falcons (9-20 overall, 0-16 MWC)
All but one of the Falcons’ nine wins were earned in Colorado Springs on their home court. Despite not winning a single MWC game this season, Air Force has forced close games against several conference opponents, including almost upsetting BYU on its home court in the last game of the season. The Falcons are led by senior Andrew Henke, who averages 12 points and four rebounds per game. Although Air Force ranks last in both scoring and rebounding, the Falcons are ranked second in holding opponents to low scoring and rebounding.

Compiled by Paige Fieldsted