Don't look now, but the Mountain West Conference bandwagon is only going to get bigger as the season goes on, as it currently owns the third-best conference RPI ranking in college hoops as of Monday.
RPI isn't the be-all, end-all for March Madness bubble teams on Selection Sunday, but it is one of the components the committee takes into account when making cuts. The Mountain West Conference received four bids into the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The conference has shown its mettle all season. The San Diego State Aztecs have an 11-game winning streak this year, beat the UCLA Bruins and just barely missed the upset against Arizona on Christmas by one point. The UNLV Runnin' Rebels rank ninth in the nation in rebounding and seventh in assists. New Mexico owns wins over Connecticut and Cincinnati (on the road), and Wyoming is one of four remaining undefeated teams in college.
This year, the MWC could be looking at even more bids if the teams that need to win keep on winning. The Fresno State Bulldogs are the lowest-ranked team in the conference at No. 215, and has only three teams in the conference with a sub-100 ranking.
The Pac-12 and the Big 12 have eight and six teams with sub-100 rankings, with both TCU and Texas Tech dragging the Big 12 down further with sub-200 rankings.
With conference play starting to get under way across the nation, more and more people are starting to pay attention. Jeff Goodman with CBS Sports has San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico and Wyoming all making the tournament with Colorado State and Boise State hanging out on the bubble. It might be too early to tell quite yet, but the key takeaway from the non-conference games in college hoops this year is not to sleep on the MWC.