Mountain West Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 5

Dec. 3, 2012


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The Mountain West has three unbeaten teams (New Mexico 8-0; Wyoming 8-0, Colorado State 6-0) in the month of December for the second time in three years. UNM, Wyoming and CSU are three of 20 undefeated programs nationally, while the Lobos and Cowboys are among seven teams with 8-0 records.

STRONG OUT OF THE GATE
Through games of December 2, Mountain West teams boast the nation's best collective win percentage. MW squads are 51-11 against non-conference opponents for an .823 win percentage. Five of the MW's 11 losses have been to teams that were or are currently ranked (Texas, Syracuse, Michigan State, Colorado, Wichita State). The Mountain West is one of three conferences (Big East, Pac-12) with all teams having .500 records or better heading into this week's action.

MW IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Three Mountain West teams remain listed in both national Top 25 polls, as New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV moved up in the latest rankings. The MW is one of four conferences (Big Ten 6; Big East 5; ACC 3) to have at least three teams ranked by both panels. In addition, Boise State, Colorado State and Wyoming are receiving votes in both polls, meaning that six of the MW's nine teams are either ranked or receiving votes.

The 8-0 Lobos, off to their best start since opening the 2009-10 campaign with a 12-0 record, are ranked No. 18 and 20 in the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches' polls, respectively. This marks the third time in four seasons UNM has been listed in the Top 25.

The Aztecs (5-1) are the league's highest-ranked team in both polls at No. 17 by the AP panel and No. 15 by the coaches. SDSU has been included in the AP poll for 17 straight weeks and in the Coaches' poll for 16 of the last 18 weeks.

The Runnin' Rebels (5-1) are listed 21st by the coaches and 18th by the AP voters. UNLV has been ranked in the AP poll for 18 consecutive weeks and in the Coaches' poll for 19 of the last 22 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 19 consecutive weeks and two teams listed in the AP poll for 17 straight weeks. Two MW teams have been ranked in the Coaches' poll 16 of the last 17 weeks.

LOBOS, COWBOYS AND RAMS REMAIN UNDEFEATED
The Mountain West has three unbeaten teams (New Mexico 8-0; Wyoming 8-0; Colorado State 6-0) in the month of December for the second time in three years. The first time was during the 2010-11 campaign, when BYU, San Diego State and UNLV were undefeated through eight games apiece. The MW joins the Big Ten and SEC as the only three conferences to have three undefeated teams through games of December 2. New Mexico, Wyoming and Colorado State are three of 20 undefeated programs nationally, while the Lobos and Cowboys are among seven teams with 8-0 records (Duke, Gonzaga, Illinois, Indiana, Wichita State).

MW-MVC CHALLENGE
The Mountain West took a 4-3 lead in the 2012 MW-MVC Challenge following wins by Boise State, Colorado State and New Mexico last week. Two games remain in this year's Challenge - Wyoming at Illinois State (Dec. 4) and UNI at UNLV (Dec. 19).

Including this year's results, the Mountain West now holds a 20-13 lead in the series. The two conferences split last year's matchups, 4-4, while the MW won the 2010 Challenge, 8-1, and the MVC took the 2009 Challenge, 5-4.

HOME SWEET HOME
Colorado State has won 17 straight games at Moby Arena and is tied with Gonzaga and Southern Miss for the nation's fifth-longest active home win streak. The Rams' last loss in Moby Arena was a 79-58 setback to Southern Miss on Nov. 19, 2011.

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 846 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 442-229 (.659) record over a 21-year head coaching career, while San Diego State's Steve Fisher is 447-243 (.648) in 21 seasons as a head coach. Eustachy has amassed a 408-258 (.613) career record, also over a 21-year span.

SDSU'S FRANKLIN, UNLV'S MOSER EARN PRESEASON ACCOLADES
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.

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 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.

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 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).

Coming Up in Mountain West Men's Basketball
Game Time TV/Webstream
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3
FRESNO STATE at Long Beach State 7 p.m. PT
Texas Southern at NO. 17/15 SAN DIEGO STATE 7 p.m. PT TWCSN
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4
WYOMING at Illinois State 7 p.m. CT Live Stream
NEVADA at Pacific 7 p.m. PT
No. 21/18 UNLV at Portland 8 p.m. PT ESPNU
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5
BOISE STATE at Utah 6:30 p.m. MT P12N
USC at NO. 18/20 NEW MEXICO 8:15 p.m. MT CBSSN
COLORADO STATE at Colorado 8:30 p.m. MT P12N
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6
San Diego Christian at FRESNO STATE 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
UC Santa Barbara at No. 17/15 SAN DIEGO STATE 7 p.m. PT TWCSN
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8
Arkansas-Pine Bluff at AIR FORCE 2 p.m. MT Live Stream
Oklahoma Panhandle State at WYOMING 2 p.m. MT Live Stream
COLORADO STATE at Illinois-Chicago 3 p.m. CT P12N
NEVADA at Washington 5 p.m. PT Live Stream
Valparaiso at No. 18/20 NEW MEXICO 7 p.m. MT ROOT SPORTS
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9
No. 21/18 UNLV at California 3 p.m. PT ESPNU
FRESNO STATE at Washington State 4 p.m. PT P12N
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.