Beyond Golf — 14 February 2012 by Bob Sherwin
Best in the West: UNLV takes No. 1

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

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About Author

Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 53rd year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 19 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for Cascade Golfer Magazine and Destination Golfer. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the 'Super Senior'' (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle.

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