As CSU coach Larry Eustachy and the Rams travel to The Pit in New Mexico to face off against Steve Alford’s Lobos on Wednesday, at least there is one thing they can find common ground on: the perceived lack of respect Mountain West teams have gotten in the weekly Associated Press polls lately.
The latest AP poll was released Jan. 21 and it saw two MW teams, San Diego State and UNLV, drop from the top-25. The only remaining MW team in the latest poll is New Mexico, which is surprising to some as the conference boasts the third best RPI of all conferences in the country.
“I’m amazed with the rankings,” Alford said to The Albuquerque Journal on Tuesday. “Just looking at the rankings and we only have one team ranked. To be the third-best team in the country (based on RPI rankings) and we only have one team ranked is bothersome, it really is.”
Eustachy concurred with his colleague during his weekly press conference in which he was asked a question by an Albuquerque Journal reporter who was one of the voters in the AP poll.
“In this polling,” Eustachy said, “and this has nothing to do with us, but in this polling, maybe you can explain this to me … How do you explain Wichita State’s amount of points in the media polling, and the coaches polling? And Creighton’s?”
Both Wichita State and Creighton have two losses on the season and Creighton has an RPI ranking lower than that of the Rams.
“Do teams all of a sudden, once they’re in, they’re in?” Eustachy asked. “And everybody just kind of punches their ticket … or does what a team does week-to-week mean anything?”
During his press conference, Eustachy intimated that the Rams might need a “monumental,” like a win at The Pit in order for his team to be able to gain enough attention nationally to be recognized by voters.
“My point isn’t about us or New Mexico,” Eustachy said. “I think New Mexico is better than they’re ranked. … But does this program desperately need a road win, let alone one against New Mexico? Absolutely.”
Eustachy and the rest of the Rams will have the opportunity to get some of that national attention Wednesday night at 6 p.m. MT in Albuquerque.