1. San Diego State (Last year: 31-5, 16-2; 1st)
As usual, the Aztecs will defend at an elite level, and transfer center Angelo Chol will boost an already deep roster.
2. UNLV (20-13, 10-8; 3rd)
The most talented team of the Dave Rice era may struggle out of the gate, but the Rebels figure to improve as the season goes on.
3. Boise State (21-13, 9-9; 5th)
The Broncos underperformed last season. Expect that to change, thanks to an offense that should continue to rank among the league’s best.
4. Colorado State (16-16, 7-11; 9th)
Senior guard Daniel Bejarano is a sleeper for MWC Player of the Year and will be a key component on an improving Rams team.
5. Fresno State (21-18, 9-9; 6th)
Guards Cezar Guerrero, Marvelle Harris and Paul Watson give the Bulldogs a solid collection of talent on the perimeter. That trio will need to deliver consistently if Fresno State is to climb up the standings.
6. New Mexico (27-7, 15-3; 2nd)
Senior guard Hugh Greenwood is still running the show, but the Lobos have lost too much from last year’s MWC tournament champion to be considered a threat to repeat.
7. Wyoming (18-15, 9-9; 7th)
The Cowboys will lean on guards Josh Adams and Riley Gribau while star big man Larry Nance Jr. works his way back into form after knee surgery.
8. UNR (15-17, 10-8; 4th)
Last year, UNR was the surprise team in the conference. Don’t expect a replay of that, because the Wolf Pack will have trouble scoring in 2014-15.
9. Utah State (18-14, 7-11; 8th)
The Aggies struggled in their first season in the Mountain West, and Year Two doesn’t figure to get any easier, as sophomore guard Jalen Moore is one of the few returners for an inexperienced squad.
10. Air Force (12-18, 6-12; 10th)
The Falcons finished near the Mountain West cellar last year, and that was with promising guard Tre Coggins. Now that Coggins has transferred, Air Force is in for another long winter.
11. San Jose State (7-24, 1-17; 11th)
Sophomore Rashad Muhammad—a Bishop Gorman alum and brother of Shabazz Muhammad—can definitely shoot it; after that, there’s not much else to see here.
Player of the Year: Anthony Drmic, Boise State
Defensive Player of the Year: Angelo Chol, San Diego State
Freshman of the Year: Rashad Vaughn, UNLV