Mountain West Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 18

March 5, 2013


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No. 12/11 New Mexico captured its fourth Mountain West regular-season crown last week and with it, the top seed in next week's MW Men's Basketball Championship. The rest of the league continues to jockey for position with the remaining eight seeds up for grabs.

MOUNTAIN WEST RANKS FIRST IN CONFERENCE RPI
The Mountain West is ranked first in conference RPI through games of Mar. 3, marking the first time in the league's 14-year history. This is also the third straight year the league has been among the top five, ranking fifth each of the last two seasons.

MOUNTAIN WEST IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
With only postseason competition remaining, the Mountain West is on pace to post the best composite out-of-conference record in the league's 14-year history, as the current .795 (101-26) win percentage currently ranks well ahead of the .756 (102-33) clip MW teams compiled last season. The Mountain West has finished with a .700 or better win percentage in non-conference play each of the last three seasons and four times overall.

MW TEAMS IN NCAA RPI RANKINGS
Seven of the nine Mountain West teams are ranked in the top 85 of the Mar. 4 NCAA RPI rankings, marking the highest percentage (.778) of any conference in the country. In addition, the MW is the only conference with all of its teams ranked in the top 166 of the RPI, and joins the Big East and Big Ten as the only three conferences with at least three teams in the RPI top 17.

MW IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
New Mexico (25-4, 12-2 MW) is ranked No. 12 and 11, respectively, in the latest Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches' polls.

Five different Mountain West teams have been ranked in at least one national poll this season, marking a first for the Conference. The Mountain West is one of five conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12) to have five or more teams ranked in at least one top-25 poll at some point this season, and one of four (Big East, Big Ten, Big 12) to have 50 percent or more of its teams appear in at least one poll at some point.

The MW has had at least one team ranked in both polls for 32 consecutive weeks and two teams listed in the AP poll for 26 of the last 30 weeks. At least two MW teams have been ranked in the Coaches' poll 27 of the last 31 weeks.

NEW MEXICO CLAIMS MW REGULAR-SEASON CROWN
New Mexico defeated San Diego State and Wyoming last week to improve to 12-2 in Mountain West action and claim the 2012-13 MW regular-season crown. This marks the Lobos' fourth MW regular-season title, with all of them coming under sixth-year head coach Steve Alford.

FIVE MOUNTAIN WEST TEAMS REACH 20-WIN MARK
Five Mountain West teams have reached the 20-win mark for the second straight season and third overall. The five 20-win teams tie the Conference record, which was originally set in 2008-09. This is the also the seventh straight year at least four Mountain West teams have amassed 20 or more victories.

New Mexico (25-4) has reached the 20-win mark for the 20th time in the past 27 seasons, including all six under head coach Steve Alford. This marks the Lobos' 26th 20-win campaign overall, with all of them coming since the 1963-64 season.

Colorado State (22-7) has recorded back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time since accomplishing the feat during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. Overall, the Rams have hit the 20-win mark eight times in program history.

UNLV (22-7) has 20 wins for the seventh consecutive season. It is the first time since 1986-93 the Runnin' Rebels have won 20-plus games in seven straight seasons.

Boise State (20-8) has notched the 10th 20-win season in program history, and first as a member of the Mountain West. Two of the 20-win campaigns have come under Leon Rice, who is the first head coach in Bronco history to reach the benchmark in two of his first three seasons.

San Diego State (20-8) has recorded its school-record eighth straight 20-win season and ninth of Steve Fisher's tenure. The Aztecs had a total of nine 20-win campaigns in the 78 seasons prior to Fisher's arrival on campus, which includes just two 20-win campaigns at the Division I level.

UNLV has racked up a league-high 10 20-win campaigns in 14 seasons as a member of the Mountain West, followed by San Diego State (nine), New Mexico (eight), Air Force and Wyoming (three each), Colorado State (two) and Boise State (one).

DIALING FROM LONG DISTANCE
UNLV currently holds the NCAA record for consecutive games with at least one made 3-pointer. Since the official adoption of the 3-point rule at the start of the 1986-87 season, the Runnin' Rebels have connected on at least one trey in all 869 of their games. UNLV, Princeton, Vanderbilt are the only three teams in the country to have made at least one 3-pointer in every one of their games since the rule was implemented.

400 WINS AND COUNTING
With the addition of Colorado State's Larry Eustachy, the Mountain West is now home to three 400-win head coaches. New Mexico's Steve Alford has accumulated a 459-233 (.663) record over a 21-year head coaching career, while San Diego State's Steve Fisher is 462-250 (.649) in 21 seasons as a head coach. Eustachy has amassed a 424-265 (.615) career record, also over a 21-year span.

WORKING OVERTIME
Fresno State, Nevada and New Mexico have each played two overtime games in 2012-13. Air Force and UNLV share the Mountain West record (five) for most overtime contests in a single season (both in 2001-02). The MW record for most overtime games in Conference-only contests is four, shared by UNLV (2001-02) and New Mexico (2006-07).

SDSU'S FRANKLIN, UNLV'S BENNETT AMONG NAISMITH TOP 30
San Diego State junior guard Jamaal Franklin and UNLV freshman forward Anthony Bennett are among the top 30 candidates for the Naismith Award. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is presented annually to college basketball's best player.

UNLV'S BENNETT ON ROBERTSON, TISDALE AWARD WATCH LISTS
UNLV freshman forward Anthony Bennett is on the 12-player Midseason Watch Lists for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's 2013 Oscar Robertson Trophy presented by Aflac, which goes to the National Player of the Year, and the 2013 Integris Wayman Tisdale Award, which is given to the National Freshman of the Year. Bennett is the only player to be included on both lists.

MOUNTAIN WEST DUO ON WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP 25
San Diego State junior guard Jamaal Franklin and UNLV freshman forward Anthony Bennett are on the 2012-13 John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list. Chosen by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the list is made up of 25 student-athletes who, based on their performances in November, December, and the beginning of January, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.

Coming Up in Mountain West Men's Basketball
Game Time TV/Webstream
TUESDAY, MARCH 5
*BOISE STATE at UNLV 7 p.m. PT TWCSN
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6
*NO. 12/11 NEW MEXICO at NEVADA 7:15 p.m. PT CBSSN
*COLORADO STATE at WYOMING 8 p.m. MT ROOT
*AIR FORCE at SAN DIEGO STATE 8:30 p.m. PT TWCSN
SATURDAY, MARCH 9
*SAN DIEGO STATE at BOISE STATE 1:30 p.m. MT NBCSN
*FRESNO STATE at UNLV 3 p.m. PT TWCSN
*NO. 12/11 NEW MEXICO at AIR FORCE 4 p.m. MT ALT
*NEVADA at COLORADO STATE 6:30 p.m. MT CBSSN
Legend
* - Mountain West game.
CAPS denotes Mountain West team.
Bold denotes home team.
Rankings listed according to Associated Press/USA Today Coaches' Top 25 polls.
All dates and times subject to change.
Live stats available for most games.