It's been an eventful season for the Wyoming Cowboys and only two weeks worth of games remain. The Pokes will host San Diego State on Tuesday and then finish the regular season at BYU on Saturday. This is an incredibly tough way to finish the regular season with both opponents being ranked in the top 10.
Currently sitting at 10-19 (3-11) Wyoming could be looking at a 10-21 record before heading to the Mountain West Conference Championship which is once again being held in Las Vegas. The tourney starts on Wednesday, March 9th and concludes on March 12th.
Barring a miracle it seems that the Pokes are again headed to the pigtail game of the tournament. For those unfamiliar with the pigtail game it is basically the play in game between the 8th and 9th seeds. This game is required due to there being an odd number of teams currently in the Mountain West. The winner of that game on Wednesday then has the joy of facing the #1 seed on Thursday.
The Cowboys opponent in the pigtail game will most definitely be TCU who is floundering and have now lost 12 in a row. The Horned Frogs only victory in conference play was against Wyoming in Fort Worth but they've fallen badly since that point. BYU has the edge for the #1 seed but San Diego State could still swipe that spot if the Cougars struggle this week.
This will be the second straight pigtail game and third out of four years for the Cowboys. Last year Wyoming lost badly to Air Force but I don't see them repeating those struggles in 2011. For any Wyoming fans that haven't booked their hotel in Vegas yet the official hotel for Wyoming fans this year is the Luxor. Under Fred Langley the Pokes are now 2-3 and showing much more heart on the court.
Amath M'Baye has broken out thanks to Langley and is averaging 21 points over his last five games. With the development of M'Baye and the solid play of leading scorer Desmar Jackson the Cowboys core are really starting to gel. Francisco Cruz remains the top threat from long range and really the only Wyoming player to hit treys consistently. JayDee Luster is playing well for him but is still not a true leader at point guard. Djibril Thiam has seen his scoring drop recently but the lone senior can still provide some solid defense in the paint.
While Wyoming certainly has the ability to make it past TCU in the pigtail game it will very hard for them to knock off either BYU or San Diego State. The talent in the Mountain West is so deep this year that it just doesn't look the Pokes will be able to make an extended run in the tournament. The good news is that next year there won't be a pigtail game since there will only be eight teams in the MWC; BYU and Utah are leaving while Boise State is joining.
The entire tournament will be televised by The Mtn. and CBS College for most of the games, however Versus is broadcasting the title game. If you're attending any of the games at the Thomas and Mack Center then you can try out the beer dispensers there that fill the cups from the bottom. A magnet is used to cover the bottom of the cup after it is filled so that no liquid leaks out. So except the beer lines to be much shorter at the game... still no cure for long lines at ladies restrooms.
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