A big challenge awaits the Wyoming Cowboys after flying down to Mexico to compete in the Cancun Challenge. The Pokes are sitting at 2-2 and face the possibility of dropping below .500 for the first time this season. The Cowboys will need to pull off the upset of #11 Mizzou Tigers (2-0) if they want to stay above water. Depending on the outcome of that game the Cowboys will then face either LaSalle or Providence on Wednesday to complete the tournament.
The Tigers are averaging 81 points this season and have beaten Western Illinois and North Florida two teams that the Cowboys played last week. The Pokes beat Western but lost to the North Florida. This certainly looks to be to the toughest opponent the Pokes will play during the non conference part of the schedule.
One bonus to playing in the tournament is that both games will be televised on CBS College. This is the first time the Cowboys appear on television so make sure you tune in.
The Tigers are a team with plenty of weapons and the Pokes will have their hands full. There are currently four players averaging double digit points so far this year: Marcus Denmon, Ricardo Ratliffe, Kim English and Laurence Bowers. Bowers also averages a double double by pulling 10 boards a game.
The outside shooters are Denmon, English and Phil Pressey who take at least three attempts per game from behind the arc. With those three launching threes then Bowers and Ratliffe stay inside to gobble up offensive rebounds and pour in the points.
Keys for Wyoming
- Hit the threes. Cruz and Hudson were brought into to make shots from behind the arc. If Hudson is just going to shoot threes all day then he'd better starting making more than just one a game.
- Protect the paint. The Tigers are a great rebounding team and the Pokes their big men to create a presence inside to grab some offensive rebounds.
- Not be on vacation. Traveling to Cancun would be fun for anyone but the players need to be mentally prepared for a challenging game. If the Pokes don't have their heads on straight this one could get ugly.
Here is a fantastic write up of Wyoming by the Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. Reading it gave me some hope that the Pokes should be able to stick around for awhile in this game. Hope I'm right about that.