Mountain West Men's Basketball Weekly Release No. 8

Dec. 24, 2012


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The Mountain West has the second-best conference RPI through games of December 23. Six MW teams are listed among CBN's top-65 RPI rankings, with UNLV leading the pack at No. 7. New Mexico (13th) is second, followed by Colorado State (23rd), Wyoming (28th), Boise State (38th) and San Diego State (65th).

STRONG OUT OF THE GATE
Through games of December 23, Mountain West teams still boast the nation's best collective win percentage. MW squads are 86-20 against non-conference opponents for an .811 win percentage. With its 86-20 mark, the Mountain West is on pace to post the best composite out-of-conference record in the league's 14-year history. The MW's .811 win percentage currently ranks ahead of the .756 (102-33) clip the league compiled last season. The MW has finished with a .700 or better win percentage in non-conference play each of the last three seasons and four times overall.

MOUNTAIN WEST RANKS SECOND IN CONFERENCE RPI
The Mountain West has the second-best conference RPI through games of December 23, according to Collegiate Basketball News, trailing only the Big Ten. Six MW teams are listed among CBN's top-65 RPI rankings, with UNLV leading the pack at No. 7. New Mexico (13th) is second, followed by Colorado State (23rd), Wyoming (28th), Boise State (38th) and San Diego State (65th).

MW IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
San Diego State and UNLV posted a combined 6-0 record last week to move into the top 20 of both national polls. The MW is one of six conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC) to have at multiple teams listed by both panels. New Mexico (12-1) slipped out of both rankings following Saturday's loss to South Dakota State. Wyoming (12-0) continues to receive votes in both polls, garnering 28 in the Associated Press poll and 20 in the USA Today/Coaches', while Colorado State (10-2) received one vote by the coaches' panel.

Riding an 11-game win streak, the Aztecs (11-1) moved up to 17th in the AP poll and 16th in the coaches' listing. SDSU has been included in the AP poll for 20 straight weeks and in the Coaches' poll for 19 of the last 21 weeks.

The Runnin' Rebels (11-1) have won nine straight and are listed 20th by the AP voters and 17th by the Coaches' panel. UNLV has been ranked in the AP poll for 21 consecutive weeks and in the Coaches' poll for 22 of the last 25 weeks.

The MW has had one team ranked in both polls for 22 consecutive weeks and two teams listed in the AP poll for 20 straight weeks. Two MW teams have been ranked in the Coaches' poll 19 of the last 20 weeks.

COWBOYS REMAIN UNDEFEATED
Wyoming (12-0) is one of five undefeated teams (Cincinnati 12-0; Michigan 12-0; Arizona 11-0; Duke 11-0) nationally and joins Cincinnati and Michigan as the only three squads to boast 12-0 records through games of December 23.

MW-MVC CHALLENGE
The Mountain West won the 2012 Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge by a 6-3 margin, giving the MW a 22-13 advantage in the four-year 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 19 straight games at Moby Arena, which ranks as the nation's fourth-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 852 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 446-230 (.660) record over a 21-year head coaching career, while San Diego State's Steve Fisher is 453-243 (.651) in 21 seasons as a head coach. Eustachy has amassed a 412-260 (.613) career record, also over a 21-year span.

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).

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.

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

Coming Up in Mountain West Men's Basketball
Game Time TV/Webstream
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25
No. 17/16 SAN DIEGO STATE vs. No. 3/3 Arizona (1) 4:30 p.m. HT ESPN2
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27
NEW MEXICO at No. 8/8 Cincinnati 9 p.m. ET ESPN2
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28
Yale at NEVADA 7 p.m. PT Live Stream
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29
NO. 20/17 UNLV at North Carolina 2 p.m. ET ESPN2
Adams State at COLORADO STATE 2:30 p.m. MT Live Stream
AIR FORCE vs. No. 14/11 Florida (2) 4:30 p.m. ET FSN
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30
Sonoma State at FRESNO STATE 1 p.m. PT Live Stream
Corban at BOISE STATE 2 p.m. MT Live Stream
Legend
(1) Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, Hawaii)
(2) Orange Bowl Basketball Classic (Sunrise, Fla.)
* - 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.