UNLV, San Diego State Ranked in Preseason Associated Press Top 25 Poll


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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - For the second time in three years, two Mountain West men's basketball teams enter the year ranked in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll. UNLV debuts at No. 18 in the 2012-13 rankings, 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.

In 2010-11, SDSU went into its season opener ranked 25th by the AP voters, preceded by former member BYU in 24th.

UNLV and San Diego State are also ranked No. 19 and 20, respectively, in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, marking the first time in league history two MW teams are included in both Top 25 lists heading into the season. The Mountain West is one of seven conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12, SEC) to have multiple teams ranked in both preseason polls.

The Runnin' Rebels' position at No. 18 in this year's opening AP poll is the highest preseason ranking for a MW team since former member Utah began the 1999-00 campaign at No. 15 in both the AP and Coaches' polls.

The Runnin' Rebels are in the preseason top 25 of the AP poll for the first time since being ranked 22nd to begin the 1992-93 campaign, a span of 20 years. In addition, UNLV's No. 18 ranking is its highest in the preseason poll since the Rebels 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 last season. The 26 victories were the most in a season by a first-year head coach in program history. The Runnin' Rebels were ranked for 13 straight weeks (14 overall) in 2011-12, 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 AP poll ranking into its season opener for the second time in three years, and the No. 20 ranking is the Aztecs' highest preseason rating ever in either poll. Additionally, this marks the first time in program history SDSU heads into its first game ranked in both polls.

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.