The state of Nevada rules the college basketball world. Or at least the Mountain West and Western Athletic conferences. UNLV was selected by as the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West. Nevada was tabbed to win the WAC. That should make the inter-state rivalry even more intense this year.
The Runnin' Rebels will have five seniors this season and will finally start seeing the fruits of Lon Kruger's recruiting labors. Guard Wink Adams was selected as the preseason co-player of the year, while Tre'Von Willis was selected as the preseason pick as top newcomer.
BYU's Lee Cummard was the other selection for Mountain West preseason co-player of the year. No word on if his wife started a riot when she learned that Lee was not the sole winner. BYU was picked to finish second in conference.
San Diego State's Lorrenzo Wade, Wyoming's Brandon Ewing and Utah center Luke Nevill round out the preseason first team for the Mountain West.
Nevada isn't a surprise pick in the WAC. Mark Fox has been building a strong program in Reno. Wolfpack guard Armon Johnson is the preseason pick for player of the year. Fellow guard Brandon Fields was selected to the second team.
Nevada, Utah State and New Mexico State were the top three picks in both the media and coach's polls. The media picked Louisiana Tech to finish fourth, while the coach's went with San Jose State. Last year's tournament winner, Boise State was picked to finish fifth by both the coaches and media. Obviously there is not a lot of respect giving that that burgeoning program.
Both the Mountain West and WAC appear to be on the upswing. UNLV has made some good runs in the tournaments in recent years, and should have the most talented team in Kruger's run. Nevada has been on the verge for years, but really needs to make a move in the tournament.