With the Mountain West Conference deep in its schedule, the conference is taking shape. While there seems to be a lot of parity in the conference, I think it's clear who the number one team is. Outside of Air Force though, things get a bit tight.
|Air Force has had an amazing season and is definitely the class of the conference. They should easily win the championship and get a favorable seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons do have a tough game against BYU on the road, and they've already lost to Utah in Salt Lake City. But even then, I'm not sure many teams are capable of beating them, especially in Colorado Springs.
|The Rebels are having a great season and making a strong case for an NCAA Tournament berth. Third year head coach Lon Kruger has found his style and is once again turning UNLV into a basketball power -- or at least a consistent top-level conference team. The Rebels have two home games against San Diego State and New Mexico in the coming weeks, both of which should be wins.
|I think Colorado State is the surprise team of the conference. They've jumped to a 14-4 start, are 4-2 in conference play and own wins over Utah and BYU. The Rams could compete for an NCAA Tournament berth and should finish in the top-half of the conference, barring a major meltdown. And with Dale Layer as coach, that's very possible.
|BYU is one of the best teams in the conference -- at home. When they go out on the road, the Cougars are barely competitive and as a whole, not a very good team.
|The Aztecs were picked to win the conference and now they're quickly falling behind the elite. While they're not out of the conference championship race just yet, a road game against UNLV tomorrow and a home game against Utah Saturday are must wins.
|Utah started the conference season 0-4, but two straight wins -- including one over #11 Air Force -- might signal that things are changing. Consistent play for Utah will not be enough to allow them to break into the elite of the conference, but a strong finish and 4th place is not out of the question if they continue playing like they are. Of course Utah has struggled at consistent play, so reverting back to their losing ways would not be a surprise.
|The Frogs looked as if they were going to be the surprise team of the season, but a three game losing streak has halted that. Things don't get easier for TCU, as they have a road game against Air Force Tuesday night. That game should continue their woes and push them back even further.
|The Cowboys started out hot, defeating San Diego State in the opener and then UNLV a week later. Since then however, Wyoming has dropped three straight. They'll need to turn it around if they're going to salvage their season, though it won't be easy with Colorado State coming to Laramie.
|New Mexico is just a poor basketball team right now. Their lone win in Mountain West play was against the Utes, and that was an OT home victory. They're 1-4 in conference play and probably won't get much better this season. Though a home game against BYU Wednesday could get them back on the winning track.