With less than a month remaining in the regular season before the NCAA Tournament, UNLV (22-4) has moved into the No. 1 spot in the prestigious GolfersWest Coast Top 10 college basketball poll (It’s not actually a poll, unless one voter is considered poll-worthy).
There is no pretense here that the West Coast teams can measure up in any way to the rest of the country’s powers. In fact, the Running Rebels, the NCAA champion more than two decades ago (1990), can’t even break into the top 10 in the national, and lesser-regarded, polls.
UNLV, which beat San Diego State (20-4) Saturday, 65-63, at home, has its toughest conference test this season when the Rebels travel to New Mexico (20-4) to play the Lobos in The Pit. The Rebels beat the Lobos 80-63 on Jan. 21.
The Mountain West is where the power dwells this season – not the Pac-12. Those three teams – UNLV, San Diego St. and New Mexico – are all ranked and all tied at 6-2 in conference play.
It’s certainly not the Pac-12’s domain this season. In fact, this season may go down as one of the worst for western teams in recent memory. Pac-12 teams are fairly pathetic. There is no standout team, no team is ranked even among the top 25 in the country. No dominant player. And entered the season, it was supposed to be much better overall because the majority of the teams lost very little to graduation or early departures.
The Mountain West as well as the Western Athletic Conference, with teams such as Gonzaga (20-4), St. Mary’s (23-3) and BYU (21-6), are driving the bus in the west.
Here’s this week’s GolfersWest Coast Top 10:
No. Team (record) Rundown
1. UNLV (22-4) Plays at New Mexico (20-4) Saturday
2. San Diego St. (20-4) Lost to UNLV (65-63) Saturday
3. Gonzaga (20-4) Have won 14 of last 15
4. St. Mary’s (23-3) Reeling from 79-53 loss to Gonzaga
5. New Mexico (20-4) Have won 18 of last 20
6. BYU (21-6) Building to Feb. 23 showdown at Gonzaga
7. Long Beach St. (19-6) Casper Ware had 65 points in last two games
8. Nevada (21-4) Have won 18 of last 19 games
9. California (20-6) Swept UCLA for first time since 1994.
10. Washington (17-8) Lost by 25 Thursday to Oregon