NCAA Basketball Tournament - North Carolina State v San Diego State

The Mountain West is a two-team race, in everything

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The Mountain West Conference released a preseason media poll of their own on Monday. In all honesty, it was a formality. Only two teams truly matter in the conference race.

San Diego State was picked to finish first, receiving 10 first place votes, with UNLV getting the other eight. San Diego State squeaked out the total votes race over UNLV, 153-151.

So yea, it’s basically telling us what we already know. No one is getting a word in edge-wise if it’s not a member of Steve Fisher or Dave Rice’s squads.

New Mexico was picked third, followed by (in order) Colorado State, Nevada, Wyoming, Fresno State, Boise State and Air Force.

Keeping with the theme, San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin was tabbed as the MWC’s Preseason Player of the Year. The race between these two is so even, the media couldn’t decide who got Preseason Newcomer of the  Year action (they give that out?), SDSU’s Dwyane Polee II (formerly of St. John’s) or UNLV’s Bryce Dejean-Jones (formerly of USC).

Finally, UNLV big man Anthony Bennett got the Preseason Freshman of the Year nod.

The only place anyone will see any players from a team outside of  SDSU or UNLV is on the all-conference team and that’s only in two spots. Franklin and guard Chase Tapley made it from SDSU and Mike Moser was the obvious choice from UNLV. In fact, it’s kind of surprising he wasn’t player of the year. But Franklin is no doubt a worthy candidate as well. Kendall Williams from New Mexico and Deonte Burton of Nevada occupied those remaining two slots.

So there you go. It’s San Diego State or UNLV. Not much argument, and rightfully so. New Mexico lost a ton off last season’s team. And by a lot, I mean Drew Gordon. Colorado State is rebuilding in their first season under Larry Eustachy and Wyoming, while coming off a 20-win season, isn’t going to have the firepower to compete with the elite in the MWC just yet.

These two will settle the argument Jan. 16 at San Diego State, then exactly a month later, Feb. 16, at UNLV.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.


AP Poll: Syracuse, Xavier big winners in college basketball rankings

(Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
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The new college basketball AP Poll is out, and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you that Syracuse and Xavier are the big winners.

The Orange steamrolled through a good Battle 4 Atlantis field, while Xavier capped a dominating performance in the Advocare Invitational with a 29-point win over Dayton. It should be no surprise that they are where they are.

[MORE RANKINGS: top 25 | Coaches Poll]

It is a bit surprising, however, that both Texas A&M and Providence made it into the polls with a loss this week. They both deserve to be there, I just wasn’t sure they were both going to be.

Anyway, here is the full poll:

1. Kentucky (59 first place votes)
2. Maryland (4)
3. Michigan State (2)
4. Kansas
5. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma
7. Duke
8. Villanova
9. North Carolina
10. Virginia
11. Purdue
12. Xavier
13. Gonzaga
14. Syracuse
15. Oregon
16. Vanderbilt
17. Cincinnati
18. Texas A&M
19. Arizona
20. West Virginia
21. Miami
22. SMU
23. Providence
24. Louisville
25. Baylor

NEW THIS WEEK: Syracuse, West Virginia, SMU, Providence, Louisville

DROPPED OUT: Indiana, Cal, UConn, LSU, Wichita State