Updated: February 12, 2014 at 6:30 am
Dave Pilipovich has enough on his plate right now to consider dieting, but when he stepped on a scale Monday he noticed he was down four pounds.
Six consecutive losses will do that to a coach.
"You toss and turn and just ask, 'What can I do, what can we do?'" Pilipovich said.
A trip Wednesday to face San Jose State (6-17, 0-11 Mountain West) might be just what is needed to return the coach's appetite, but he also recognizes that it could be a dangerous game for the Falcons (9-13, 3-8).
The Spartans are seeking their first victory as a member of the conference, and there's little doubt that this will be their best shot.
"They're obviously looking at this as a chance to get into the win column," Pilipovich said. "We're looking at this as a chance to get back on track. Obviously our last win was against San Jose State back in two-thousand and something, it's been a long time."
The Falcons started 2-0 in the conference, then followed back-to-back losses with a 77-62 win over San Jose State on Jan. 15. Since then they've lost six straight as they head for a two-game trip to California that will first pit them against the winless Spartans and then unbeaten San Diego State - the yin and yang of the Mountain West.
But even though Air Force handily won the first matchup despite 23 turnovers, this is far from a sure thing largely because of San Jose State's willingness to launch 3s. In two-point home losses to Colorado State and New Mexico they hit a combined 20 3-pointers and they lead the conference in attempts and makes from long distance.
"They're really loose now," Pilipovich said. "They have nothing to lose and they can only move up. If they hit some shots early you could see our group tightening up because you don't want to lose that game. It will be important to get started early and not let them get out to a big run."
If Air Force can't stop the bleeding in this first game on the trip, there's no telling how much weight Pilipovich might lose by the time he returns from the Pacific time zone.
Air Force (9-13, 3-8 Mountain West) at San Jose State (6-17, 0-11) 8 p.m. Wednesday, Root Sports, 740 AM
Summary: Teams that have dropped a combined 17 straight conference games (11 for San Jose State, six for Air Force) will seek a chance to come up for air.
Key stat: 21 - as in the average margin of defeat for San Jose State in its past seven games. Air Force has largely been losing close games as it has struggled to close; the Spartans have simply been blown out.
Player Air Force must contain: Rashad Muhammad. The freshman sixth man scored a team-high 12 points in the first meeting between the teams. He took 12 shots in that game, making just three. He's going to get his looks one way or another. If they are falling, the Spartans are obviously a different team.