Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011 | 10:30 a.m.
As expected, in the Mountain West Conference's preseason media poll, UNLV was picked to finish second, the league announced Wednesday morning.
The Rebels, who begin a new era under first-year coach Dave Rice this season, took four of 26 first-place votes, while the other 22 went to New Mexico.
Picked third is San Diego State, which lost its top four scorers off a 34-win team from a year ago. Colorado State, which finished fourth last season, is in that spot to start the 2011-12 campaign, followed by Air Force, Wyoming, TCU and league newcomer Boise State.
Meanwhile, a pair of Rebels were picked on the league's preseason all-conference team. Senior guard Oscar Bellfield and senior forward Chace Stanback join New Mexico's Drew Gordon and Kendall Williams and TCU's Hank Thorns — a Las Vegas native — on the five-man list. Williams, a sophomore, is the only non-senior in the group.
Gordon, who averaged a double-double last season after transferring to New Mexico from UCLA, was selected as the league's preseason player of the year.
The MWC preseason newcomer of the year is San Diego State sophomore guard Xavier Thames, who will likely start from Day One after transferring in from Washington State.
Australian Hugh Greenwood of New Mexico was the obvious choice as the conference's preseason freshman of the year.