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Mountain West Basketball Media Days: Colorado State Projected 5th, Air Force 9th

Basketball season tips off in one month, but Tuesday and Wednesday is when the Mountain West is having their media days in Denver, Colorado. Neither Colorado team is expected to finish in the top half of the league in the preseason media ballot released today.

Rk. School (First-Place Votes) Pts.
1. San Diego State (21) 261
2. BYU (5) 220
3. New Mexico (3) 214
4. UNLV (1) 203
5. Colorado State 132
6. Utah 105
7. TCU 92
8. Wyoming 88
9. Air Force 35


Air Force will be attempting to improve upon their 10-win season, which featured only one Mountain West win in 2009. While Colorado State is projected to finish fifth; some are wondering if the the Rams can improve on last year's success and challenge for a spot in the top four:

For a program that failed to win a league game in 2007-08 and has enjoyed minimal success in men's basketball during the past two decades, Colorado State has a chance to be surprisingly good next season. Nearly the entire roster returns from a team that finished a respectable 7-9 in the rugged Mountain West last season and made the school's first postseason appearance since 2003, falling to Morehead State in the first round of the CBI tournament.

The primary question now facing the Rams is whether they've improved enough to compete with the likes of San Diego State, BYU, UNLV and New Mexico for an NCAA tournament berth next season. Colorado State went a combined 0-9 against those four teams last season, though the Rams did push eventual champ San Diego State to the brink in a one-point quarterfinal loss in the Mountain West tournament.

Colorado State does have talent in sharpshooting sophomore Dorian Green, who averaged 11.8 points per game, but was deadly from beyond the arc at 38.8% on the season. The Rams' season will depend on how well he improves between year one and year two.