We've talked about how bad the WAC is thus far but I didn't realize how bad until I was going through the RPI for each team.
The capsules includes RPI and strength-of-schedule rankings from RealTimeRPI.com as of Dec. 26. A bad loss was any loss to a team outside of the top 150 RPI and the best win was the team’s highest RPI win thus far.
Utah State (11-2, 56 RPI, 218 SOS)
Best win: Long Beach St. (108 RPI); Bad loss: None
Key player: Tai Wesley, senior forward — 13.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg
Note: The Aggies’ only losses were at BYU (No. 3 RPI) by six and at Georgetown (No. 2 RPI). Head coach Stew Morrill has plugged in junior college transfer point guard Brockeith Payne into a lineup with four seniors returning from last year’s NCAA Tournament team.
Hawaii (9-3, 193 RPI, 303 SOS)
Best win: Utah (169 RPI); Bad loss: Cal Poly (198 RPI)
Key player: Bill Amis, senior center — 15.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Note: First-year coach Gib Arnold’s team is coming off a 68-57 win over Mississippi State. The Rainbow Warriors are third in the WAC in rebounding margin, outrebounding teams by 6.2 per game.
San Jose State (8-3, 158 RPI, 318 SOS)
Best win: Oregon (178 RPI); Bad loss: California-Bakersfield (234 RPI)
Key player: Adrian Oliver, senior guard — 25.8 ppg, 46 percent field goals, 38 percent 3-point field goals
Note: The Spartans are five games over .500 for the first time since 2000-01. The last time a SJSU team was six games over .500 was 1997. Perhaps the Spartans have learned how to win consistently?
Louisiana Tech (9-5, 151 RPI, 291 SOS)
Best win: Houston (216 RPI); Bad loss: Northwestern St. (191 RPI)
Key player: Olu Ashaolu, junior forward — 15.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg
Note: The Bulldogs are third in the league in scoring at 71.3 points per game. Their 94 made 3-pointers made top the WAC and their 36-percent shooting from downtown is fourth.
Boise State (7-5, 232 RPI, 332)
Best win: Northern Illinois (256 RPI); Bad loss: Drake (263 RPI)
Key player: Robert Arnold, senior forward — 16.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Note: Boise State matched its best start at 6-0. The Broncos have lost five of six entering conference play, but did drop close games to Long Beach State, UNLV, Drake, Utah and Portland during that stretch.
Idaho (6-5, 239 RPI, 296 SOS)
Best win: Oregon (178 RPI); Bad loss: Seattle (294 RPI)
Key player: Brandon Wiley, senior forward — 8.3 ppg, 60 percent field goal percentage
Note: Idaho lost nearly everyone from last year’s club, but the Vandals are coming off a win over Oregon. Don Verlin is 2-0 in WAC openers with both contests being on the road.
New Mexico State (6-8, 212 RPI, 77 SOS)
Best win: Pacific (126 RPI); Bad loss: None
Key player: Troy Gillenwater, junior forward — 18.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg
Note: Injuries have plagued the Aggies, although Gillenwater and center Hamidu Rahman are expected to return to the lineup during conference play while senior forward Wendell McKines’ status is unknown after breaking his foot in October.
Fresno State (4-6, 192 RPI, 84 SOS)
Best win: North Dakota State (128 RPI); Bad loss: Utah (169)
Key player: Greg Smith, sophomore center — 9.7 ppg, 6 rpg
Note: Unlike past Bulldogs teams, Fresno State has struggled offensively. The Bulldogs are eighth in the league with 65.1 points per game.
Nevada (3-10, 276 RPI, 117 SOS)
Best win: Montana (140 RPI); Bad loss: Pepperdine (267 RPI)
Key player: Dario Hunt, junior forward — 12.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg
Note: Second-year coach David Carter is still trying to find the right lineup. Nevada used three different lineups through the first 10 games while Duke transfer Olek Czyz has appeared in four games due to transfer eligibility.