Stephen Vilardo’s Week 8 SuperWest Hoops Power Rankings

Only three men's basketball teams nationally remain unbeaten, and New Mexico is one of them

Posted on December 27, 2022

  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

The final week of nonconference brought us a bit of a quiet week with the holiday as well.

We did see a big matchup between San Francisco and Arizona State that favored the Dons in a big way. But still not a perfect week for them, even with the win.

Only three men’s basketball teams nationally remain unbeaten, and New Mexico is one of them.

The Lobos move up this week and a big jump for USC as the Trojans are starting to look like a team finding its stride heading into Pac-12 play.

1. Arizona Wildcats 12-1 (1)
The Wildcats find themselves 12-1 as they head into conference play and in a position to work on a No. 1 seed over the next few months.

Arizona football Pac-12Arizona is the highest-scoring offense in the country averaging over 90 points per outing. They are third in the nation in total rebound rate at 57.1% and they are fifth with a rebound margin of +10.5 per game.

The home win streak has now reached 27 in a row, the third longest in the nation.

Arizona can beat teams in the half-court but in transition, they are just about the best in the nation, and their 18.15 fastbreak points per game are indicative of that as they have the eighth-best mark in the nation.

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs 10-3 (2)
Gonzaga got a win last week over Montana in Spokane. The 10-point win over the Grizzlies was the 72nd in a row at home for the Bulldogs.

At 72 games, the win streak is tied with UNLV (1974-78) for the ninth-longest in NCAA history. It’s the longest streak since the expansion of the NCAA Tournament in 1985 and the longest since Lamar’s 80-game run from 1978-84.

The Zags concluded nonconference play with five games against ranked opponents.

3. UCLA Bruins 11-2 (3)
The Bruins got a 27-point win over UC-Davis prior to breaking for the holidays.

The Bruins rank fourth in the nation with a turnover rate of 13.9% on offense while they are forcing a turnover on 24.7% of possessions. That has led to UCLA having the third-best turnover margin in the nation at 7.6.

After opening 3-2, the Bruins have won their last eight games to give them the eighth-longest win streak in the nation.

4. New Mexico Lobos 12-0 (5)
One of just three remaining unbeaten teams in the nation, the Lobos are 12-0 for the first time since 2012-13. This is just the fourth time New Mexico has ever posted a perfect nonconference regular season.

Jamal Mashburn has reached double-figure scoring in each of his last 33 games played, the longest active streak in the Mountain West.

The Lobo’s 12-game winning streak is the second longest in the nation. New Mexico leads the nation with 20.4 made free throws per game.

5. USC Trojans 10-3 (8)
The Trojans sit at 10-3 on the season and have won six in a row.

They dropped an early one to Florida Gulf Coast and dropped close games to Tennessee and Wisconsin but are starting to look like a good team.

Boogie Ellis has averaged 23.5 points in the last two games while Drew Peterson connected on seven of nine from the field against Colorado State.

With those two going strong the Trojans look poised to be a quality NCAA team if the season were ending today.

6. Arizona State Sun Devils 11-2 (4)
Arizona State fell behind to San Francisco 24-2 and it did not get much better in that one for the Sun Devils as they suffered a 37-point loss.

At 11-2 entering the break, the Sun Devils have now won 18 of their last 22 games dating to last season.

7. San Francisco Dons 11-4 (9)
The Dons started last week with an inexcusable loss to UT Arlington but rebounded with a pair of wins. Both wins were in dominant fashion over Arizona State and Hartford.

In the three games last week, USF outscored opponents by 11.3 points per outing in the first half. Their overall average margin in those three games was 21.3 points, the 10th largest in the nation during that stretch.

8. UNLV Rebels 11-1 (6)
UNLV has concluded non-conference play with just one loss in the non-conference for the first time since 1992-93 and at 11-1, they have their best regular season non-conference win percentage since going 9-0 in 1990-91.

The Rebels were 8 of 23 on threes against Southern Mississippi extending their NCAA record of at least one three-pointer in 1,173 straight games.

UNLV is second in the nation with a steal on 11.1% of possessions. UNLV leads the nation with a turnover margin of 8.3.

9. San Diego State Aztecs 9-3 (12)
The Aztecs defense was on full display against UC-San Diego in their final nonconference game as they held the Tritons to 22.2% from the floor in the first half.

The Aztecs will continue to rely on the defensive end as they get into Mountain West play. SDSU is 14th in the nation in adjusted defense ranking.

10. Santa Clara Broncos 12-3 (16)
The Broncos are riding a four-game win streak and are 9-1 in their last ten games. The capper on the nonconference schedule was a good one as they picked up a win over Boise State.

In a battle of Broncos, the red-and-white clad outscored the blue-and-orange 39-22 in the second half to secure a big win.

Herb Sendek’s squad has collected 12 wins on the season, tied for the second most of any team in the nation. Brandin Podziemski has averaged 19 points on 41.4% from the floor in the last two games.

11. Boise State Broncos 10-3 (7)
The Broncos closed out the nonconference portion of their regular season slate with 10 wins.

It is just the sixth time Boise State has reached the 10-win mark in regular season non-con games with five of those six seasons coming under Leon Rice.

The Broncos have limited opponents to an assist rate of just 41.7% this season, the 23rd-best mark in the nation. BSU dropped their final game at Santa Clara in which they allowed an assist on 50% of made FGs.

12. Utah State Aggies 11-2 (10)
The Aggies opened the season 9-0 before dropping two of their last four.

The nonconference schedule was capped with a 2-1 mark in the Diamond Head Classic giving the Aggies their best non-conference record since the 2019-20 season.

In the most recent win over Washington State, USU shot 60.1% from the floor as they ran their record to 21-1under Ryan Odem when going shooting 50% or better from the floor.

13. Utah Utes 9-4 (11)
The Utes second-half comeback against nationally ranked TCU came up a bit short behind the efforts of Gabe Madsen who went for a career-high 26 points, with 16 of them coming after halftime.

With Branden Carlson and Ben Carlson, the Utes have a real presence on the inside. That is showing up on the defensive end with a blocked shot rate of 9.1% and an opponent’s shooting percentage of 35.7% which is the fourth-best mark in the nation.

The Horned Frogs shot over 44% against Utah in large part due to the Utes’ 19 turnovers leading to 23 points for TCU.

14. Saint Mary’s Gaels 10-4 (13)
The Gaels picked up a win over Wyoming to end their nonconference slate.

As they head into WCC play, they are 15th in the nation with a non-blocked two-point field goal defense of 48.2%. In the win over the Cowboys, SMC allowed them to shoot 50% from the floor.

It was the second straight game the Gaels have allowed an opponent to shoot at least 50% from the floor. That could be troubling if it becomes a trend.

15. Nevada Wolf Pack 10-3 (NR)
The Wolf Pack will enter Mountain West play with 10 wins on the season and coming off a convincing win over Norfolk State.

Nevada is turning the ball over on just 14.9% of their possessions this season, the 14th-best mark in the nation.

The Wolf Pack have gotten 25.7% of their scoring this season from the free-throw line, the third highest in the nation.

16. Loyola Marymount 10-4 (NR)
The Lions take the 16th spot on the list this week.

LMU has finished up the nonconference portion of their regular season with double-digit wins for just the third time since 1988 and the 10 wins are the second most during that stretch behind only the 12 wins in 2018.

—More from Stephen Vilardo—