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What a day for the Mountain West Conference!

November 29, 2012

6-1.

Four wins at home. A pair of double-digit road wins on the road. And the only loss was a nailbiter on the road/

First the expected wins. In no particular order.

Nevada got out to an early lead over visiting UC-Davis but struggled to finish the Aggies off. After a late three-ball, the Wolf Pack trailed but star guard Deonte Burton mailed the winning jumper with 3 seconds on the clock. Burton and backcourt running mate Malik Story combined for 49 points as Nevada moved their record to 4-2 with the 84-83 victory.

Air Force had a home laugher with Jackson State as the Falcons rolled to a 76-47 win. Seniors Tood Fletcher, Mike Lyons, and Mike Fitzgerald combined for 42 points and the Falcons had a 42-24 margin on the glass after being pummeled on the boards by Colorado on Sunday.

New Mexico blew open a 10-point game in the final 10 minutes and rolled to a 76-58 win over visiting Mercer. Big men Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow each scored 16 and Kirk completed a double-double with 13 boards.

UNLV hosted a tricky UC-Irvine team that had taken UCLA to OT and pummeled the Anteaters to the tune of 85-57. Forwards Mike Moser and Anthony Bennett led the way with 19 each and guard Katin Reinhardt added 13. Senior playmaker Anthony Marshall had 9 assists.

Now for the impressive road wins.

First, Boise State went to Omaha and soundly thrashed #11 ranked Creighton 83-70 in front of over 16,000 Blue Jay fans. Sophomore guard Derrick Marks shot 13-19 on his way to a MWC season high 35 points and the hot shooting Broncos shot 60% from the field including 53% from beyond the arc for the game. It was the best MWC win over an MVC team to date in this 4-year series.

Wyoming traveled to Santa Barbara to take on the UC-SB Gauchos and showed why American Cowboys are way cooler than Mexican ones on their way to a resounding 68-40 win. Luke Martinez led the Pokes with 17 points on 5-8 shooting from beyond the arc and point guard Derrious Gilmore added 12 with 6 assists.

And finally the loss.

Fresno State traveled to Carbondale, Illinois to take on the Salukis of Southern Illinois. They fought their way to a 1-point lead late before succumbing 57-54. Allen Huddleston led the Bulldogs with 12. It was the only loss to date in the MWC-MVC Challenge and it comes with an asterisk as Southern Illinois was led in scoring by Wyoming transfer Desmar Jackson who had 25.

It too bad Fresno could not get over the top. I’ll bet there has never been a night where a conference recorded wins over teams nicknamed Anteaters, Gauchos, and Salukis.

The MWC Season to Date…

A conference record of 45-9 with the 4th highest conference RPI nationally to date, trailing only the Big 10, the Pac 12, and the ACC.

Three undefeated teams (UNM, CSU, WYO) and four one-loss teams (Boise State, Air Force, UNLV, and SDSU). Four teams in the RPI Top 50 (UNM,UNLV,CSU,AFA) and two more in the next 50 (BSU,SDSU) poised to move up.

Three teams ranked in the Top 25 (UNLV, UNM, SDSU) and a fourth getting votes (CSU).

And a ton to look forward to in the next week with key match-ups against Missouri Valley Conference schools and top of the conference Pac-12 schools.

The next week should be a lot of fun!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. judas_priest permalink
    November 29, 2012 7:17 pm

    RPI is not a measure of team quality – all that it measures is conformity to a behavioral model set up by the NCAA committee, and this early in the season it doesn’t even measure that. If you want to use RPI (except for the fact the tournament committee uses it there is no reason to come within 100 miles of it) use rpiforecast.com and look at projected season end RPI.. There are four MWC teams in the top 31. (The obvious 4).

    As an illustration of the problems with RPI as a measure of team quality, UNM is projected to have the highest RPI, but to finish behind UNLV and SDSU in the conference.

    • November 29, 2012 7:23 pm

      I understand the limitations of rpi just as much as the limitations of anything else this early in the season. I chose rpi but could very easily have chosen kenpom or Sagarin to make the same point. The bottom line is that the MWC is starting the season where they left off last season with the Top 4 and it looks like some of the other teams have raised themselves as well.

  2. November 30, 2012 4:13 am

    Great analysis, Swoll. A win by Wyoming on Saturday and followed by a few upsets in conference play could get them in the dance. Same can be said about Boise and AFA. Could it be possible to get 4-6 teams in the dance? Should be fun to watch it play out.

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