The Mountain West enters this week's action as the only conference where every team boasts a record of .500 or better. UNLV (20-3), San Diego State (18-3), New Mexico (17-4) and Wyoming (17-4) have all reached the 17-win mark, making the MW one of two leagues (Big Ten) with at least four 17-win squads through Jan. 29.
The Mountain West has launched its "Ultimate Fan Experience" contest! `Like' the Mountain West at www.facebook.com/MountainWestConference for a chance to win a trip for two to the 2012 Conoco MW Basketball Championships in Las Vegas. Grand prize winners will receive airfare and hotel accommodations for two, two all-session VIP tickets and hospitality passes to the tournament, backstage access to post-game press conferences, shuttle transportation to/from the hotel and arena, and $200 cash for food and souvenirs. The deadline for entering is February 7.
UNLV has reached 20 wins for the sixth consecutive season, hitting the benchmark before the month of February for the first time since 1987. This is the first time since 1987-93 that the Runnin' Rebels have won 20 or more games in six consecutive years. UNLV has racked up a league-high nine 20-win campaigns in 13 seasons as a member of the Mountain West, followed by San Diego State (seven), New Mexico (six), Air Force and Wyoming (three each).
UNLV (20-3) is one of eight teams (Syracuse 22-1; Murray State 21-0; Kentucky 21-1; Saint Mary's 21-2; Creighton 20-2; Middle Tennessee 20-3; Oral Roberts 20-4) with at least 20 wins through Jan. 29.
Since the start of the 2010-11 season, San Diego State (52-6) ranks second in the nation in win percentage (.897) while tying Kansas for the second-most victories (52) during that span. Ohio State leads the country with 53 victories and an .898 win percentage over that same time period.
UNLV has won 11 straight games at the Thomas and Mack Center, and is tied with five other teams (Albany (NY), Mississippi State, Nevada, South Dakota State and Stony Brook) for the nation's 22nd-longest active home win streak. The Runnin' Rebels' last loss at home was a 74-72 setback to San Diego State in the semifinals of the 2011 MW Tournament. Kentucky leads the nation with 47 consecutive wins at Rupp Arena.
In 2011-12, the Mountain West is 11-3 against the Pac-12, with the MW's top three teams (New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV) combining for an 8-0 mark, including Aztec and Runnin' Rebel wins over current Pac-12 co-leader California. Over the last three seasons, the MW owns a mark of 20-12 against the Pac-12. During that three-year span, the MW has not only left the Pac-12 in its wake, it has also gone 28-8 against the Western Athletic Conference; 19-7 vs. the West Coast Conference; 20-4 against the Big West Conference; and 25-7 vs. teams from the Big Sky Conference.
After posting back-to-back overtime wins at Boise State and Air Force last week, UNLV moved up to 11th and 13th, respectively, in the latest Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls. UNLV's No. 11 AP ranking is its highest since a 10th-place listing on Feb. 1, 1993, and highest in either poll since sitting at No. 10 in the Coaches' poll on Feb. 8, 1993. San Diego State slipped to 17th in both rankings following a split of its two road games at Wyoming and Colorado State. New Mexico continues to receive votes, garnering six in the Coaches' poll. The Mountain West is one of six conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, SEC) to have multiple teams ranked in the top-20 of both polls.
The Mountain West remains fifth in the latest conference RPI rankings, ahead of the ACC, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, Pac-12 and Conference USA.
Three Mountain West teams are ranked in the top-25 of the Jan. 30 NCAA RPI report, with UNLV leading the pack at No. 7. Colorado State is listed at No. 18, followed by San Diego State (22nd). The Mountain West is one five conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten) to have three or more teams ranked in the top-25 of the RPI. Overall, five MW teams are listed among the top 100, with New Mexico (44th) and Wyoming (80th) joining the Runnin' Rebels, Rams and Aztecs.
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 828 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.
Fans from around the Mountain West can have their men's basketball questions answered by MW Senior Writer Mick McGrane in McGrane's Mailbag. Questions can be submitted several ways - by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), through Twitter (@MWCMick), or by comment on McGrane's Take, the MW official blog on TheMWC.com
The 2011-12 MW men's basketball schedule features a minimum of 80 telecasts available on a national basis. All 56 Conference regular-season match-ups and all eight MW Championship contests are included in the television broadcasts. MW fans have the opportunity to watch men's basketball games on the league's family of networks - The Mtn. (DirecTV 616), CBS Sports Network (DirecTV 613) and NBC Sports Network (DirecTV 603).
Coming Up in Mountain West Men's Basketball
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31
*NEW MEXICO at AIR FORCE
8 p.m. MT
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
*WYOMING at TCU
7 p.m. CT
*BOISE STATE at No. 17/17 SAN DIEGO STATE
7:15 p.m. PT
*COLORADO STATE at No. 11/13 UNLV
7:30 p.m. PT
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4
*NEW MEXICO at BOISE STATE
2 p.m. MT
*No. 11/13 UNLV at WYOMING
2 p.m. MT
*AIR FORCE at COLORADO STATE
3 p.m. MT
*TCU at No. 17/17 SAN DIEGO STATE
7 p.m. PT
* - Mountain West game.
# - TCU Film/Television/Digital Media Production.
CAPS denotes Mountain West team.
The Mtn. - The MountainWest Sports Network
CBSSN - CBS Sports Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
Rankings listed according to Associated Press / USA Today Coaches' Top-25 polls.