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September 16, 2014

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Mountain West hoops power rankings: Jan. 11

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AP FILE PHOTO

Desmar Jackson, left, rebounds the ball against Colorado State’s Adam Nigon during college basketball action in Fort Collins, Colo., on Jan. 4, 2010. Colorado State won the game, 73-60, but the Pokes earned some relief from the rankings cellar with their weekend victory over New Mexico.

OK, so after a few boring weeks of little shift in the weekly rankings, we finally have something substantive to go off of with a week of conference play in the books.

I remind you: No cursing.

1) No. 6 San Diego State (17-0, 2-0)

The Aztecs not only remained undefeated and opened league play with back-to-back wins, but they won two games on the road. Yes, their opponents (TCU and Utah) have the two worst overall records in the Mountain West, but that's two road games out of the way, plain and simple. Three of SDSU's next four games, however, come against UNLV (at home, Jan. 12), New Mexico (away, Jan. 15) and BYU (away, Jan. 26). If perfection holds thorough that … well … then … wow.

2) No. 11 BYU (17-1, 3-0)

Jimmer Fredette scored 47 points on Wednesday night in a 104-79 trouncing of rival Utah. FORTY-SEVEN!!! The only thing more entertaining than the race at the top of the Mountain West standings this year will be Fredette's push for National Player of the Year honors.

3) UNLV (13-3, 1-1)

Colorado State was very close to taking over this spot for a moment, but then A) UNLV rediscovered its roots in an 83-49 smashing of TCU and B) CSU needed every last drop to overcome a 13-point deficit against Wyoming … at home. I still think the Rams post a winning record in the league this year, but that's not enough to jump the Rebels.

4) Colorado State (11-4, 1-0)

The Rams still fared better against Wyoming than New Mexico did (see below).

5) Air Force (10-5, 1-1)

The Falcons probably aren't in the 5-hole to stay. Don't worry. But for this week, they've earned it. They beat Utah by eight and held within 10 points of BYU in Provo. I doubt Air Force finishes above the bottom third in the league standings (maybe sixth), but I also don't see them getting blown out as frequently as they have been in the last two seasons.

6) New Mexico (12-4, 0-1)

The Lobos were having enough trouble coming together before getting Drew Gordon at midseason, but since the UCLA transfer joined the active roster, they're 5-3. A long way to go for New Mexico, it appears. A buzzer-beater loss at Wyoming could be a big early blow to a potential NCAA tourney at-large resumé.

7) Wyoming (8-8, 1-1)

Wyoming gets a break from the cellar for at least a week after beating New Mexico. Still, the Pokes should be 2-0. They flat-out blew that game at CSU.

8) Utah (7-9, 0-2)

The Utes at least look cohesive most of the time (again, see below).

9) TCU (9-8, 0-2)

In the loss to UNLV, TCU looked like anything but a team made up of guys who enjoy playing with one another. Some of Hank Thorns Jr.'s comments after the game were a bit salty, too. This group could have some, uh, choppy waters ahead.

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