UNLV, San Diego State Ranked in Preseason Coaches' Top 25 Poll
Oct. 18, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - For the second time in three years, two Mountain West men's basketball teams enter the season ranked in a national top 25 poll. UNLV debuts at No. 19 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, followed by San Diego State at No. 20. Additionally, defending MW tournament and regular-season co-champion New Mexico was joined by Colorado State in the "receiving votes" category.
The Runnin' Rebels' position at No. 19 is the highest preseason ranking for a MW team since former member Utah opened the 1999-00 campaign at No. 15 in both the Associated Press and Coaches' polls.
In 2010-11, SDSU went into its season opener ranked 25th in the AP poll, preceded by former member BYU in 24th.
This marks the first time the Runnin' Rebels are in the preseason top 25 of the coaches' poll since being ranked 23rd to begin the 1992-93 season, a span of 20 years. In addition, UNLV's No. 19 ranking this year is its highest in the preseason poll since it began the 1990-91 season as the nation's top-ranked team.
The Runnin' Rebels went 26-9 and played in their third straight NCAA tournament in head coach Dave Rice's first year at the helm of the program. The 26 wins during the 2011-12 campaign were the most victories in a season by a first-year head coach in program history. The Runnin' Rebels were ranked for 13 straight weeks (14 overall) last season, climbing as high as No. 11.
UNLV returns six letterwinners in 2012-13, led by all-MW performers Mike Moser and Anthony Marshall.
San Diego State carries a preseason coaches' poll ranking into its season opener for the first time in program history, and the No. 20 ranking is the Aztecs' highest preseason rating ever in either poll.
Last year, the Aztecs finished with a 26-8 record, and were ranked in both polls the final 11 weeks of the regular season, climbing as high as No. 12. They are coming off their fourth straight 25-win campaign and their third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. The two-time defending MW regular-season co-champions have won 20 or more games and advanced to the postseason for seven straight years.
In 2012-13, San Diego State returns four of its five starters, including defending MW Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin and fellow all-MW selection Chase Tapley.