Mountain West Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 1

Nov. 7, 2012

Mountain West Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 1 Get Acrobat Reader


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Two Mountain West teams will be in action when the 2012-13 men's basketball season officially tips off on Friday, November 9, with all nine MW teams taking to the court over the course of the next four days. The Battle of the Midway, pitting No. 9 Syracuse against No. 20 San Diego State, has been moved from Friday to Sunday due to anticipated rain in the San Diego area.

MW IN PRESEASON RANKINGS
For the second time in three years, two Mountain West 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.

AZTECS RACKING UP 25-WIN SEASONS
San Diego State embarks on the 2012-13 campaign as one of seven programs in the nation (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Saint Mary's, Syracuse) to have won at least 25 games each of the previous four seasons. In addition, the Aztecs boast a league-record streak of seven consecutive 20-win campaigns, all under the direction of head coach Steve Fisher.

RUNNIN' REBELS, LOBOS ALSO WINNING IN BUNCHES
UNLV and New Mexico also enter the 2012-13 season riding impressive streaks of 20-win campaigns. The Runnin' Rebels have recorded at least 20 victories in six straight seasons, including a 26-win tally in head coach Dave Rice's first year in 2011-12, while the Lobos have topped the 20-win mark all five seasons under head coach Steve Alford.

SAN DIEGO STATE PICKED TO CAPTURE MW TITLE
Defending Mountain West co-regular-season champion San Diego State edged UNLV as the preseason favorite to win the MW men's basketball regular-season title in 2012-13. The Aztecs received 10 of 18 first-place votes and 153 points to garner the top spot in the poll. San Diego State amassed a 26-8 overall record in 2011-12 en route to capturing a share of the MW regular-season crown with a 10-4 mark. The Aztecs made their third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance last year, receiving an at-large bid. Four of five starters return among seven letterwinners, led by the 2011-12 MW Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin (Jr., G) and fellow all-MW performers Chase Tapley (Sr., G) and Xavier Thames (Jr., G).

One senior and four juniors representing four institutions were chosen for the 2012-13 preseason all-MW team. San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin received Preseason MW Player of the Year honors, while San Diego State's Dwayne Polee II and UNLV's Bryce DeJean-Jones shared Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades. UNLV's Anthony Bennett earned Preseason Freshman of the Year kudos.

WELCOME BACK
The Mountain West returns 10 of 15 all-Conference performers from the 2011-12 season, including three first-team selections, all five second-team picks and two third-team honorees. The group is led by MW Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin (Jr., G, San Diego State) and MW Newcomer of the Year Mike Moser (Jr., F, UNLV). In addition, four Mountain West honorable mention honorees from last season also return to the hardwood.

MW newcomer Nevada returns junior guard Deonte Burton, who was the 2011-12 Player of the Year and a first-team all-league selection in his previous conference, while fellow MW newcomer Fresno State returns second-team all-conference pick Kevin Olekaibe (Jr., G). Nevada guard Malik Story earned honorable mention status a year ago.

PRESEASON ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST
Deonte Burton, Jr., G, Nevada
Kendall Williams, Jr., G, New Mexico
Jamaal Franklin, Jr., G, San Diego State
Chase Tapley, Sr., G, San Diego State
Mike Moser, Jr., F, UNLV

PRESEASON MW PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jamaal Franklin, Jr., G, San Diego State

PRESEASON MW CO-NEWCOMERS OF THE YEAR
Dwayne Polee II, So., F, San Diego State
Bryce Dejean-Jones, So., G, UNLV

PRESEASON MW FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV

2012-13 PLAYERS TO WATCH
Here is a breakdown of the returning all-Mountain West performers from 2011-12:

FIRST-TEAM ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST
Wes Eikmeier, Sr., G, Colorado State
Jamaal Franklin, Jr., G, San Diego State
Mike Moser, Jr., F, UNLV

SECOND-TEAM ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST
Michael Lyons, Sr., G, Air Force
Kendall Williams, Jr., G, New Mexico
Chase Tapley, Sr., G, San Diego State
Anthony Marshall, Sr., G, UNLV
Leonard Washington, Sr., F, Wyoming

THIRD-TEAM ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST
Dorian Green, Sr., G, Colorado State
Pierce Hornung, Sr., F, Colorado State

HONORABLE MENTION ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST
Anthony Drmic, So., G/F, Boise State
Derrick Marks, So., G, Boise State
Tony Snell, Jr., G, New Mexico
Xavier Thames, Jr., G, San Diego State

RETURNING STARTERS AND LETTERWINNERS
This season, Mountain West rosters will feature 69 returning letterwinners, including 28 starters. Air Force, Boise State and San Diego State each enter the 2012-13 campaign with four starters from a year ago, while the remaining six teams return at least two starters apiece.

TWO NEW HEAD COACHES JOIN MW RANKS IN 2012-13
The Mountain West welcomes two new head men's basketball coaches in 2012-13. Dave Pilipovich brings 26 years of coaching experience to his first full season as a head coach, officially taking over the reins at Air Force after serving as the Falcons' interim head coach for the final eight contests of the 2011-12 campaign. Pilipovich, who joined the Air Force program as an assistant prior to the 2007-08 season, also served on the staffs at Michigan (2005-07), Eastern Michigan (2000-05), Robert Morris (1996-00), Georgia State (1994-96), Florida Atlantic (1989-94) and California (1986-89).

Colorado State will be under the direction of Larry Eustachy, who recently completed an eight-year stint as the head coach at Southern Miss. Eustachy has 33 years of coaching experience, the last 21 as a head coach. He guided Southern Miss to 20-win campaigns each of the last three seasons, including a 25-9 mark and NCAA tournament berth in 2011-12. Prior to overseeing the Southern Miss program, Eustachy served as the head coach at Idaho (1990-93), Utah State (1993-98) and Iowa State (1998-03).

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 434-229 (.655) record over a 21-year head coaching career, while San Diego State's Steve Fisher is 442-242 (.646) in 21 seasons as a head coach. Eustachy has amassed a 402-258 (.609) career record, also over a 21-year span.

Coming Up in Mountain West Men's Basketball
Game Time TV
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9
FRESNO STATE at Texas 7 p.m. CT Longhorn Network
Montana at COLORADO STATE 7 p.m. MT  
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10
AIR FORCE vs. Army 2 p.m. ET  
NEVADA at UC Irvine 7 p.m. PT  
Western State at WYOMING 8 p.m. MT  
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11
#20/20 SAN DIEGO STATE vs. #9/9 Syracuse 1 p.m. PT FSN
Texas Southern at BOISE STATE 2 p.m. MT  
AIR FORCE vs. Citadel/VMI TBD  
Legend
* - Mountain West game.
CAPS denotes Mountain West team.
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network DirecTV 220
CBSSN - CBS Sports Network DirecTV 613
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.