Mountain West Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 4

Nov. 26, 2012

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The Mountain West is one of five conferences with three teams listed in both national Top-25 polls as New Mexico joined San Diego State and UNLV in the latest rankings. The MW enters this week's action with a 38-8 record against non-conference opponents, marking the best win percentage in the country (.826). Six of this week's non-league tilts are part of the 2012 Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge.

Through games of Nov. 25, Mountain West teams boast the nation's best collective win percentage. MW squads are 38-8 against non-conference opponents for an .826 win percentage. Four of the MW's eight losses have been to ranked opponents (Nov. 9 at No. 24 Texas; Nov. 11 vs. No. 9/9 Syracuse; Nov. 20 at #15/19 Michigan State and No. 25 at #23 Colorado). The Mountain West is the only conference with all teams having winning records heading into this week's action.

Three Mountain West teams are listed in both national Top 25 polls, as New Mexico joined San Diego State and UNLV in the latest rankings. The MW is one of five conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, SEC) to have at least three teams ranked in both polls.

The 6-0 Lobos, off to their best start since opening the 2009-10 campaign with a 12-0 record, entered the USA Today/Coaches' and Associated Press polls at No. 23 and 25, respectively. This marks the third time in four seasons UNM has broken into the Top 25.

The Aztecs (4-1) are ranked No. 21 in the Coaches' poll and No. 23 in the AP listing. SDSU has been included in the AP poll for 16 straight weeks and in the Coaches' poll for 15 of the last 16 weeks.

The Runnin' Rebels (3-1) are listed 20th by the Coaches and 24th by the AP voters. UNLV has been ranked in the AP poll for 17 consecutive weeks and in the Coaches' poll for 18 of the last 21 weeks.

This is the fourth straight year the Mountain West has had three teams ranked at some point during the season. The MW has had one team ranked in both polls for 18 consecutive weeks and two teams listed in the AP poll for 16 straight weeks. Two MW teams have been ranked in the Coaches' poll 15 of the last 16 weeks.

Colorado State has won 15 consecutive games at Moby Arena and is tied with Gonzaga for the nation's seventh-longest active home win streak. The Rams' last loss in Moby Arena was a 79-58 setback to Southern Miss on Nov. 19, 2011.

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 844 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.

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 440-229 (.658) record over a 21-year head coaching career, while San Diego State's Steve Fisher is 446-243 (.647) in 21 seasons as a head coach. Eustachy has amassed a 406-258 (.611) career record, also over a 21-year span.

San Diego State junior guard Jamaal Franklin and UNLV junior forward Mike Moser have been named to the preseason watch lists for the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy. Both awards are presented annually to the top collegiate basketball player.

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.

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.

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

Jamaal Franklin, Jr., G, San Diego State

Dwayne Polee II, So., F, San Diego State
Bryce Dejean-Jones, So., G, UNLV

Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV

Here is a breakdown of the returning all-Mountain West performers from 2011-12:

Wes Eikmeier, Sr., G, Colorado State
Jamaal Franklin, Jr., G, San Diego State
Mike Moser, Jr., F, UNLV

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

Dorian Green, Sr., G, Colorado State
Pierce Hornung, Sr., F, Colorado State

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

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

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 is now 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).

1 Undefeated Colorado State (4-0), New Mexico (6-0) and Wyoming (6-0) are tied for the nation's best win percentage (1.000) through games of November 25.
1 Colorado State ranks first nationally with a +18.8 rebound margin. The Rams have outrebounded each of their opponents by a +14 margin or greater this season.
1 UNLV's Katin Reinhardt has converted all 10 of his free throw attempts and is tied for first nationally with a 1.000 shooting percentage.
2 Two Mountain West players are ranked among the top five nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio. Air Force's Todd Fletcher is second (8.67), while Wyoming's Riley Grabau is fourth (7.67).
3 Air Force holds the nation's third-best assist-to-turnover ratio through six games. The Falcons have committed 59 turnovers while dishing out 103 assists.
3 New Mexico boasts the nation's third-best team free throw shooting percentage at .808 (143-of-177).
3 San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin and Wyoming's Leonard Washington lead the league and are tied for eighth nationally with three double-doubles apiece.
4 Air Force is ranked fourth nationally with a league-high 10.5 3-pointers per game this season.
4 Colorado State's 4-0 start is the program's best since tipping off the 2005-06 campaign with a 6-0 record. The Rams have also opened with a 2-0 mark away from home, which is CSU's best start to the road portion of its schedule since beginning the 2006-07 season with a 3-0 record away from Moby Arena.
4 Colorado State's Pierce Hornung is tied for fourth nationally with a 12.0 rebounding average. Hornung has recorded double-digit boards in three of four games, including a season-high 16 vs. Montana on Nov. 9.
5 Air Force opened with a 5-0 mark before suffering its first loss of the season at No. 23 Colorado on Sunday. The Falcons' 5-0 start was just the fourth in program history and first since the 2007-08 campaign.
5 New Mexico's Demetrius Walker converted all five of his 3-point attempts in last Friday's win over Idaho. That ties for the third-best 3-point shooting performance in MW history behined a pair of 6-of-6 efforts from Wyoming's David Adams (Dec. 17, 2003 vs. Tennessee State) and TCU's blake Adams (Feb. 7, 2007 at UNLV).
6 Air Force's Michael Lyons has scored in double figures in each of the first six games this season, becoming the first Falcon to achieve the feat since Andrew Henke did so in 2007-08. Lyons has averaged a league-high 21.8 points per game during that span.
6 New Mexico and Wyoming have each opened the 2012-13 campaign with 6-0 records, and are tied with nine other teams for the nation's second-longest active win streak.
6 Wyoming's 6-0 start to the 2012-13 campaign is its best since opening the 1987-88 campaign with the same mark.
13 New Mexico's Nov. 19 win over then-No. 21/23 Connecticut was the program's 13th against a ranked opponent in the last four seasons. Overall, the Lobos are 13-6 vs. ranked competititon during that span.
15 Colorado State has won 15 consecutive home games, marking the longest streak for the Rams since Moby Arena became the program's home in 1966. The 15-game run is tied for the program's second-longest all-time behind a 22-game home win streak set from 1960-62 when CSU called South College Gym home. The Rams' last loss in Moby Arena was a 79-58 setback to Southern Miss (then led by first-year CSU coach Larry Eustachy) on Nov. 19, 2011.
20 Mountain West teams posted a perfect 20-0 record the week of Nov. 12-18. The MW was the only league to go without a loss during that span.
21 New Mexico was a perfect 21-of-21 from the foul stripe in its Nov. 19 win over then-No. 21/23 Connecticut. The school-record performance ranks as the second-best in MW history, trailing only Colorado State's 23-of-23 effort against San Diego State on Jan. 28, 2012.
24 Colorado State pulled down 24 offensive rebounds in Saturday's win at Washington, which were the most since clearing 25 offensive boards in a Jan. 3, 2005 outing at Pepperdine. Overall, the Rams enjoyed a 45-21 advantage on the glass against the Huskies last week.
25 Air Force's 25 assists in its win against Montana State last Wednesday marked the Falcons' second outing this season with at least 25 assists. Air Force finished with a league season-high 26 assists in a Nov. 15 win over Western State.
25 San Diego State's win over USC on Sunday was its 25th consecutive victory against a program from the state of California, and 10th straight against a Pac-12 opponent.
26 San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin stretched his double-figure scoring streak to 26 games last week with 15 and 17 points against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and USC, respectively. Franklin's 26-game streak, which dates back to the 2011-12 season, is the longest active stretch of double-digit scoring in the Mountain West.
26 Mountain West squads are a collective 26-2 on their home courts through games of Nov. 25.
33.3 San Diego State has held each of its six opponents to 33.3 percent shooting or less from 3-point range this season. The Aztecs lead the league and rank ninth nationally in 3-point shooting percentage defense (.232).
34 Fresno State has won or equaled the turnover battle in 34 of 38 games under head coach Rodney Terry.
47 San Diego State is 47-5 over the last 52 games when outrebounding its opponent.
53 Nevada's Deonte Burton (28) and Malik Story (25) combined for 53 of the Wolf Pack's 82 points in Saturday's loss at Marshall. Burton's 28 points are the most by a Nevada player this season.
72 Nevada's Malik Story and Deonte Burton have started all 72 games of their Wolf Pack careers.
73 San Diego State has won 73 consecutive games when leading with five minute to play in regulation.
80 New Mexico has won 40 straight games and is 52-1 overall when scoring 80 or more points under head coach Steve Alford. The only loss during that stretch was to Utah (82-80, OT) in the 2008 Mountain West tournament.
100 Colorado State's Dorian Green has started 100 consecutive games, which includes every contest of his Ram career.
143 UNLV's Anthony Marshall has 143 career steals, which ranks 10th on the school's all-time list.
181 Nevada's Malik Story has converted 181 3-pointers in his career, which ranks as fourth-most in school history.
844 UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in an NCAA-record 844 consecutive games. The Runnin' Rebels are one of three teams (Princeton, Vanderbilt) to have made at least one 3-pointer in every one of their games since the 3-point rule was implemented at the start of the 1986-87 season.
.924 New Mexico teammates Tony Snell (26-of-28) and Kendall Williams (35-of-38) are shooting a combined 92.4 percent (61-of-66) from the free throw line through games of Nov. 25.

Coming Up in Mountain West Men's Basketball
Game Time TV
Northern Colorado at COLORADO STATE 7 p.m. MT Live Stream
BOISE STATE at No. 11/11 Creighton 7 p.m. CT Cox 2
FRESNO STATE at Southern Illinois 7 p.m. CT Live Stream
Jackson State at AIR FORCE 7 p.m. MT Live Stream
Mercer at NO. 25/23 NEW MEXICO 7 p.m. MT ROOT
UC Davis at NEVADA 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
UC Irvine at NO. 24/20 UNLV 7 p.m. PT TWCSN
WYOMING at UC Santa Barbara 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
Drake at NEVADA 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
NO. 25/23 NEW MEXICO at Indiana State 1 p.m. CT
Evansville at COLORADO STATE 2:30 p.m. MT Live Stream
Hawai'i at NO. 24/20 UNLV 4 p.m. PT TWCSN
NO. 23/21 SAN DIEGO STATE at NO. 24 UCLA (1) 7 p.m. PT ESPNU
No. 19/19 Colorado at WYOMING 8 p.m. MT ROOT
BOISE STATE at Seattle 2 p.m. PT Live Stream
Wichita State at AIR FORCE 3 p.m. MT Live Stream
(1) John R. Wooden Classic (Los Angeles, Calif.)
* - 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.