Breaking down who I think is going to win in this weekend’s Mountain West football games.
UNLV was picked to finish at or near the top of the Mountain West by almost everyone, but the luster of those predictions seems like a long, long time ago.
The Rebels are 2-3 to open the season, not really putting up much of a fight against stronger competition they were supposed to go toe-to-toe with, and losing badly to two teams that no business coming to the Thomas and Mack Center and doing such things.
UNLV is lucky one of those games didn’t count.
San Jose State has won two in a row with a strong win over Pepperdine. It still isn’t enough to get them out of the rankings early doldrums.
Here are this week’s Mountain West Conference men’s basketball rankings for the first few weeks of the season.
Chris Cunningham recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Jose State men’s basketball team won its home opener and second straight game going away, 81-59, over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
The Spartans led 28-6 to open the game after Devante Wilson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and really the team never looked back. Wilson finished with 16 points, and Rashad Muhammad and D.J. Brown each added 17 off the bench.
It’s the first 20-or-more-point win for the Spartans since they beat UC Davis in 2011 79-59.
The team is starting to figure this out earlier than expected, although they are still shooting poorly (just 37.7 percent in Saturday’s win.) It helped that the Titans shot a season low 37 percent. The Spartans also hit 11 of 28 3-pointers on Saturday, making 25 from beyond the arc in their two wins this season.
This week’s predictions for Saturday’s slate of Mountain West Conference games:
After a lifeless performance in a loss to Nevada on Saturday, he decided to bring some levity to this week’s practices by having the fat guys on the offensive and defensive line participate in a kicking contest, with ice cream as the prize.
It ended in a tie, so everyone got sweets, writes Jimmy Durkin of the Mercury News. It makes the players take their mind off the task at hand at least, but it doesn’t necessarily fix the fact that the Spartans let the last really good opportunity to wrap up a bowl berth escape and run for a touchdown.
Now, it means having to do it against a 6-4 Navy team that runs the ball as well as anyone or an undefeated Fresno State program that is firing on all cylinders.
The Spartans face a Nevada team that hasn’t won in five weeks and is hurting on both sides of the ball. The Aztecs face a winless Hawaii team that will at least have the benefit of looking pretty in throwbacks while likely getting nailed to the wall on Saturday. Colorado State’s run-stopping defense has to love seeing a team that can do only one thing right: run the ball.
This will be the week the conference finally shakes out its bowl teams from its bad teams.
The Vermeil-Walsh Athletic Complex, which will be the new North end zone at Spartans Stadium, is set to break ground soon at San Jose State and will make the stadium in general more hospitable. Spartan Gym, which houses the volleyball and gymnastics teams, is also getting a sorely needed facelift along with the rest of the Spartan Complex. The facility is also privately financed which, considering the hard times the school has fallen on financially, is a relief.
Athletic director Gene Bleymaier hopes its the first step of a rebuild of Spartan Stadium, he said back in May. The stadium hasn’t had significant renovations since the 1980s.
San Diego State is building a new basketball practice facility on campus. But with the future of Qualcomm Stadium uncertain and likely short, the Aztecs are looking at all options, including building an on-campus stadium.