San Diego State: If Aztec fans thought last season was magical, the current campaign is threatening to stretch the limits of the imagination. Four days after knocking off then-No. 12-ranked UNLV, San Diego State (16-2, 2-0) won its ninth straight with a 75-70 victory at preseason league favorite New Mexico, a team that had won 13 in a row. This from a team that lost four starters, including a first-round NBA draft pick, from a year ago. That question about whether the Aztecs for real? Uh-huh.
Anthony Marshall: Following UNLV's 101-78 rout of TCU on Wednesday, coach Dave Rice said he believed the Runnin' Rebels' junior is playing as well as any guard in the country. Tough to argue. After finishing with a game-high 26 against San Diego State, Marshall took it a step further by scoring a career-high 27 against the Horned Frogs. Marshall has averaged 19.3 points over the last six games.
Colorado State: The Rams (13-4, 2-0), who began the week at No. 22 in the latest RPI rankings, have won eight straight for the first time since Nov. 18-Dec. 30, 2006. CSU has three players averaging double figures, paced by junior guard Wes Eikmeier (16.7). Junior guard Dorian Green and junior forward Greg Smith are averaging 14.2 and 10.5 points, respectively.
Wyoming: The Cowboys' overall mark of 15-3 is their best start to a season since the 2002-03 squad opened with a 16-3 record. In addition, in a league where home court advantage is enormous, Wyoming opened the road portion of its MW schedule with a 64-53 win at Air Force on Wednesday, and will take an overall three-game road win streak into a Jan. 28 outing at Boise State. The Cowboys ended a 23-game road losing streak earlier this season with a 65-54 win at Colorado.
The Mountain West: UNLV (17-3) and San Diego State (16-2) are two of 18 teams in the nation with at least 16 victories. The others: Syracuse 20-0; Murray State 19-0; Kentucky 18-1; Saint Mary's 18-2; Middle Tennessee 18-2; Baylor 17-1; Missouri 17-1; Creighton 17-2; Oral Roberts 17-4; Duke 16-2; North Carolina 16-3; Ohio State 16-3; Southern Miss 16-3; Wichita State 16-3; Cal 16-4 and BYU 16-5. The MW enters the weekend as the only league in the nation where every team boasts a winning record.
Drew Gordon and Mike Moser: New Mexico senior forward Gordon, and Moser, UNLV's sensational sophomore, are both averaging double-doubles this season. In 18 games, Gordon, who has recorded double-doubles in six of his last 10 games, is averaging 12.6 points and 10.4 rebounds. Moser, meanwhile, named to the midseason Wooden Award watch list, has averaged 14 points and 11.4 rebounds through 20 games. Both players rank among national leaders with nine double-doubles apiece this season.
TCU: The Horned Frogs, who reached the 10-win mark in non-conference play for the first time since 2004-05, have dropped their first two league games, the most recent coming in a 101-78 loss at UNLV in which the Rebels scored 100 points for the first time in a regular-season MW game since March 3, 2001 (106 vs. Wyoming). It marks the third time since joining the MW in 2005 that TCU has opened league play with consecutive losses.
Boise State: The Broncos, who went 10-6 in non-conference play, have found the going a bit tougher in their inaugural season in the MW, dropping their first two league games. With coach Leon Rice facing the task of replacing seven lettermen from last year's squad, Boise State has struggled mightily on the road, where it is 0-6. The Broncos have scored fewer than 60 points in each of their past three games.
USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll: So, let's see. North Carolina loses by 33 to unranked Florida State and drops from No. 3 to No. 8. UNLV loses to San Diego State by two at the buzzer in a meeting between Top-25 teams in one of the toughest environments in the nation and falls from No. 12 to No. 20? For those voting, eyes toward the front of the class: UNLV beat North Carolina, 90-80, on Nov. 26. Accomplishment may start with "acc," but last I checked, exclusive rights to the word did not belong to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
UCLA: And to think Bruins coach Ben Howland once had the triumvirate of Gordon, Moser, and Moser's UNLV running mate, Chace Stanback, before all transferred to MW schools. No wonder UCLA wants nothing to do with the cream of the crop in the Mountain West.