Mountain West Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 6

Dec. 11, 2012


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New Mexico and Wyoming are two of 14 undefeated teams nationally join Illinois as the only three squads to boast 10-0 records through games of December 9. The MW is one of four conferences (Big East, Big Ten, SEC) to have two or more unbeaten teams, and the only league with two 10-0 squads.

STRONG OUT OF THE GATE
Through games of December 9, Mountain West teams still boast the nation's best collective win percentage. MW squads are 63-16 against non-conference opponents for a .797 win percentage. Six of the MW's 16 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 12, Big East) with all teams having .500 records or better heading into this week's action.

MW IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV posted a combined 6-0 record last week and remain ranked in both national Top 25 polls. The MW is one of four conferences (Big Ten 6; Big East 5; ACC 3) to have at least three teams listed by both panels. In addition, Wyoming is receiving votes in both polls.

The 10-0 Lobos, off to their best start since opening the 2009-10 campaign with a 12-0 record, are ranked No. 17 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 (7-1) are ranked No. 18 by the AP panel and No. 15 by the coaches. SDSU has been included in the AP poll for 18 straight weeks and in the Coaches' poll for 17 of the last 19 weeks.

The Runnin' Rebels (7-1) are listed 20th by the AP voters and 17th by the coaches. UNLV has been ranked in the AP poll for 19 consecutive weeks and in the Coaches' poll for 20 of the last 23 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 20 consecutive weeks and two teams listed in the AP poll for 18 straight weeks. Two MW teams have been ranked in the Coaches' poll 17 of the last 18 weeks.

LOBOS AND COWBOYS REMAIN UNDEFEATED
New Mexico and Wyoming are two of 14 undefeated teams nationally and join Illinois as the only three squads to boast 10-0 records through games of December 9. The MW is one of four conferences (Big East, Big Ten, SEC) to have two or more unbeaten teams, and the only league with two 10-0 squads.

Big Ten (3): Illinois (10-0); Indiana (9-0); Michigan (9-0)
Big East (2): Cincinnati (9-0); Syracuse (8-0)
MW (2): New Mexico (10-0); Wyoming (10-0)
SEC (2): Florida (7-0); LSU (5-0)
A-10 (1): Charlotte (9-0)
ACC (1): Duke (9-0)
MVC (1): Wichita State (9-0)
OVC (1): Eastern Kentucky (9-0)
Pac-12 (1): Arizona (7-0)

MW-MVC CHALLENGE
With one game left to play, the Mountain West has clinched the 2012 MW-MVC Challenge, taking a 5-3 lead with Wyoming's come-from-behind win at Illinois State last week. UNLV will close out this year's Challenge on Dec. 19 at home against UNI.

Including this year's results, the Mountain West now holds a 21-13 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 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 848 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 444-229 (.660) record over a 21-year head coaching career, while San Diego State's Steve Fisher is 449-243 (.649) in 21 seasons as a head coach. Eustachy has amassed a 408-260 (.611) 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
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11
Cal Poly at NEVADA 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12
Colorado at FRESNO STATE 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13
La Verne at NO. 20/17 UNLV 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14
LSU at BOISE STATE 7 p.m. MT Live Stream
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15
San Francisco at NEVADA 3 p.m. PT Live Stream
New Mexico State at NO. 17/20 NEW MEXICO 4 p.m. MT CBSSN
UC Irvine at FRESNO STATE 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
San Diego at NO. 18/15 SAN DIEGO STATE 7 p.m. PT 4SD
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.