After two weeks of Mountain West basketball, San Diego State has risen above the rest.
The Aztecs stand 14-4 overall and 4-0 in the league heading into the Marriott Center Wednesday night, when they'll attempt to bring a 40-game Cougar home-court winning streak to an end.
If SDSU accomplishes that feat, then they are the rabbit the rest the conference must chase for the remainder of the season.
Steve Fisher's squad, once again the most talented in the league, got a win at New Mexico, held off Utah in overtime and took care of TCU and Wyoming at home.
But a loss to Northern Colorado the first week of January after beating TCU 64-57 and beating the Lobos in the Pit leaves some head scratching over Fisher's SDSU team.
Two weeks in the MWC season, ranking the contenders is debatable. TCU (11-6 and 3-1) is in second place, followed by UNLV and BYU, both with 2-1 records. The middle of the pack is occupied by New Mexico and Air Force at 2-2, followed by 1-2 Utah and then winless CSU and Wyoming.
BYU is the next in line to try and put a blemish on the Aztecs' record, and Cougar coach Dave Rose is impressed with what he's seen from SDSU so far.
"Competitive and talented" is how Rose labels the league leader.
Led by Louisville transfer Lorenzo Wade and Marquette transfer Ryan Amboroso, the Aztecs have a blend of speed, shooters and defenders to beat any team in the league.
"They are very unselfish," said Rose. "Steve has them really working hard to run sets, and when they don't score, they are unselfish and talented enough to find a way to get off good shots with the clock winding down."If it isn't there, they have another gear to get another play. If they miss, they are very quick to the ball and can get second and third shots."
MWC at midseason
BEST PLAYERSSDSU's Lorenzo Wade, UNM's J.R. Giddens and BYU's Lee Cummard, with Wyoming's Brandon Ewing knocking on the door.
BEST GAMESSDSU's overtime win over Utah and the Aztecs' win over New Mexico in the Pit.
KEY FACTORNo question it is the early home scheduling given to the Aztecs, where they've got an 8-1 record this season and started with three of four league games in Cox Arena.
BIGGEST SURPRISETCU lost to SDSU 64-57 in San Diego but notched a road win at CSU while holding serve at home against Wyoming and UNM in Fort Worth. Far more capable than a year ago.
DARKHORSEThe Rebels are going basically with five guards, but Lon Kruger's shown a lot of vice squeeze in the Thomas & Mack with that press. Let's see, where is the tournament?
TOP NEWCOMERSThe best new talent in the league comes from transfers, led by the league's top scorer, CSU's Marcus Walker (17.2 ppg) and teammate Willis Gardner. SDSU's Amoroso and TCU's Henry Salter and John Ortiz are in that group.
JUNIORS RULEIn a class that includes BYU's Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted and Ute Luke Nevill, the juniors in the MWC are among 12 of the top 20 scorers. The leading freshmen making an impact so far are SDSU's Billy White and BYU's Chris Collinsworth. Despite his shooting slump, Cougar Jonathan Taverari is the leading scorer in the sophomore class.
TV TONIGHTSee the Falcons take on CSU on CSTV at 8 p.m. and Utah get after New Mexico at 7 p.m. in The Pit.
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