Could we be getting a sneak peek at a potential Mountain West Championship Game matchup when Boise State hosts San Diego State on Saturday?
It's still early and other teams like Fresno State and Utah State will likely factor into the title race. Still, it isn't implausible to assume that the Broncos and the Aztecs could end up facing one another twice this season.
No one would doubt the coaching credentials for Sean Miller and Steve Fisher. Nor would anyone discount Arizona and San Diego State as two of the nation’s top programs right now West of the Rocky Mountains.
Determining the top spot this week was easy. Arizona lost. Syracuse won its biggest game of the season. And that’s that.
The rest of the rankings, though, remain difficult to determine. Wichita State, San Diego State and Florida are slicing through their schedules, continuing to move up by attrition.
The top teams in the Big Ten lost last week with Michigan falling to Indiana and Michigan State falling to Georgetown. Meanwhile, teams like Cincinnati and Virginia continued to make us believers with major victories in the last week.
For much of the last four seasons, the Mountain West could argue it belongs in the same breath as the power conferences.
Indeed, the MWC has produced 16 NCAA Tournament teams in the last four seasons, including five last year, to mach the SEC in that span. The Pac-10/12 has produced only 13 in that time.
The work to improve the Mountain West to major league status is thanks in part to rebuilding jobs by coaches like Steve Alford, Lon Kruger, Tim Miles and Dave Rose, coaches (and teams) that are no longer in the league.
After Florida Gulf Coast reached the Sweet 16 and Wichita State reached the Final Four, teams outside of the college basketball power structure are starting to reach even footing. At least on the court.
Beyond the major surprises in the NCAA Tournament, this is an interesting time for mid-major programs. The Mountain West showed surprising depth last season, a trend that should continue as the league expands. Even though Creighton left the Missouri Valley and Temple, Xavier and Butler left the Atlantic 10, there’s plenty to watch in both leagues.