Unless they meet in the Mountain West tournament this will be the final time that the Wyoming Cowboys (9-16, 2-9) and Utah Utes (10-15, 3-8) face off as members of the same conference. With Utah heading to PAC 12 next year there is a chance that these two teams may never play again.
Both teams have struggled this year and Ute coach Jim Boylen is the next MWC coach that is on the hot seat. Wyoming dismissed Heath Schroyer after months of speculation. Wyoming is no longer at the bottom of the Mountain West standings and will try and make it two wins in a row for the first time since beating Denver, Western State and Centenary back in December.
When these teams met in Laramie back in January the Utes won fairly easily 68-51. In that win Will Clyburn hit five three pointers and had 24 points along with 12 rebounds. The Pokes shot just 35% and were out rebounded 47 to 29. Desmar Jackson was the only Cowboy that had a solid game as he finished with 17 points was 6 of 11 from the field.
Wyoming has had much stronger play the last two weeks with Francisco Cruz and Amath M'Baye stepping up their games. In a new twist under Fred Langley Desmar Jackson came off the bench for the first time this year against TCU and responded with his first career double double. Will Jackson start tonight or be the super sixth man again? Utah is favored by 7.5 points but I think that this one will be much closer than that. The Cowboys hung tough with New Mexico in the Pit last week.
A big factor for the Utes is whether or not 7-3 center David Foster is able to play tonight. The lanky big man has been banged since the BYU game and will be a game time decision. While he isn't an offensive power he does a great job on defense and rebounding. Foster had 11 rebounds in the previous meeting.
KEYS FOR WYOMING:
- Keep the energy. Wyoming got the monkey off their back by beating TCU on Saturday. Now is the time to get that first road win.
- Point play. Joe Hudson has seen a lot more playing time under Langley and JayDee Luster was injured last game with a hip pointer. Wyoming needs some production out of that position in order to keep up with the Utes.
- Perimeter Defense. Wyoming has gotten better on defense lately and it can't go back to it's old ways. Keep Utah from killing you with three pointers.