Boise State’s Marks is Mountain West co-player of the week; Gonzaga is new No. 1

Boise State's Derrick Marks was named Mountain West men's co-player of the week Monday.

Boise State’s Derrick Marks was named Mountain West men’s co-player of the week Monday.

Boise State men’s basketball sophomore guard Derrick Marks was named Mountain West co-player of the week Monday, along with New Mexico center Alex Kirk.

Marks had 44 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in two games last week, both Boise State wins. On Saturday in a win over Colorado State, he had a career-high 38 points, including 33 in the second half, when he shot 11-for-11 from the field.

“I’ve had a lot of guys almost beat us single-handedly, but nothing like the way Marks did — he was absolutely incredible,” Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said Monday.

The 7-foot Kirk had 40 points and 16 rebounds in two games this week as the Lobos clinched the Mountain West regular season title.

Boise State is ranked No. 44 in the NCAA’s latest RPI rankings, up three spots from last week. See the NCAA’s full RPI report here. UNLV is No. 14, and San Diego State is No. 32. Boise State’s last two games are against those two.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 for the first time ever in the Associated Press top 25. Boise State coach Leon Rice was an assistant at Gonzaga from 1998-2010.

“It’s nice because I didn’t have to divorce Gonzaga or anything, we’re not in the same conference or any of that,” Rice said. “I’m all Boise State, but I’m so happy for my friends and all those kids.”

Rice noted that Mark Few, the Bulldogs’ coach, on the staff at Gonzaga for more than 20 years, took the news of the No. 1 ranking in stride.

“On the biggest day, where they become No. 1, true to himself, Mark went fishing,” Rice said. “It won’t change him, it won’t change them. They’ll be able to handle it.”

Here is this week’s AP top 25, with my vote below.

1. Gonzaga (51)

2. Indiana (7)

3. Duke (5)

4. Kansas

5. Georgetown

6. Miami (Fla.)

7. Michigan

8. Louisville

9. Kansas State

10. Michigan State

11. Florida

12. New Mexico

13. Oklahoma State

14. Ohio State

15. Marquette

16. Saint Louis

17. Syracuse

18. Arizona

19. Oregon

20. Pittsburgh

21. Virginia Commonwealth

22. Wisconsin

23. UCLA

24. Notre Dame

25. Memphis

Others receiving votes: North Carolina 109, Louisiana Tech 103, Saint Mary’s (Cal) 47, UNLV 43, California 33, Butler 26, Illinois 25, Minnesota 10, Creighton 7, Middle Tennessee 5, Akron 4, Missouri 4, Belmont 3, Colorado St. 1.

My top 25

1. Gonzaga

2. Duke

3. Indiana

4. Kansas

5. Michigan

6. Georgetown

7. Miami (Fla.)

8. Louisville

9. New Mexico

10. Florida

11. Michigan State

12. Kansas State

13. Ohio State

14. Saint Louis

15. Marquette

16. Oklahoma State

17. Pittsburgh

18. Syracuse

19. UCLA

20. Arizona

21. Louisiana Tech

22. Virginia Commonwealth

23. Oregon

24. Saint Mary’s

25. UNLV

Boise State’s Tuesday matchup with UNLV pits two of the hottest teams in the Mountain West against one another, riding four-game winning streaks.

The Rebels have found strength in numbers with standout junior Mike Moser battling a lingering elbow injury. Five players are averaging more points than Moser, who averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game last season on his way to honorable mention AP All-American status. He has missed seven games and has started 12 of the 22 he’s played in. He made his first start in a month Saturday in a win at Nevada.

“Mike’s getting healthy, which is huge for them,” Rice said. “You take a guy of his caliber out of the lineup, there’s no question it has an effect. Other guys have stepped up with him out, and it’s made them better as a whole.”

UNLV coach Dave Rice noted that he only had five returning players who registered minutes for the team last season, including Moser, and that the team is now finding its groove with the young players acclimated to the rigors of the Mountain West, and key players healthy.

“It’s just taken a little bit of time to figure out this level, figure out how to play together — we are playing our best basketball of the season right now,” UNLV’s Rice said.

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