LAS VEGAS NV - JANUARY 22: Kendall Williams #10 of the New Mexico Lobos brings the ball up the court ahead of Justin Hawkins #31 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center January 22 2011 in Las Vegas Nevada. UNLV won 63-62. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
There are plenty of story lines happening with the Wyoming Men's basketball program now. Heath Schroyer is out and now his assistant Fred Langley takes over on an interim basis. The Cowboys are just 1-8 in conference play this year with their lone win coming over the New Mexico Lobos in Laramie.
Beating a team on your home turf is one thing but the Pit is one of the toughest venues in the West. New Mexico (16-7, 4-4) has improved since their loss to Wyoming and come into the game as 19 point favorites. The Pokes have played well the last week and had close losses to CSU and BYU. That performance wasn't enough to save Schroyer who was dismissed on Monday with three years remaining on his contract.
Langley has served under Schroyer since 2007-08 season and this is his first time as a head coach. So will we see anything different on the court? Adjustments to the zone defense? Slower tempo on offense? Or will the ship keep it's same trajectory. Hopefully we'll some tweaks from Langley and signs that he wants to take the program in a different direction.
With New Mexico riding a three game win streak they will have momentum on their side. Wyoming sits at 0-7 on the road this season. The biggest improvement for the Lobos has come from Forward Drew Gordon. His scoring average has increased from 8 points per game on January 1st to now over 12. He also leads the team with over six rebounds. Dairese Gary remains on the top three most dangerous guards in the Mountain West. Gary averages 13 points and 5.6 assists per game.
Wyoming leads the all-time series 64-58 though trail 23-36 at games played in Albuquerque. The Pokes last won at the Pit in 2003.
KEYS FOR WYOMING
More Paco Please. Francisco Cruz has been playing much better over the last two weeks. He tied his career high with 16 against BYU and then set a career best with 21 against Colorado St. His last minute shot gave Wyoming the win against New Mexico in January.
Full Forty Minutes. The Pokes have done a much better job of sticking with their opponents for 40 minutes at home. Now they just need to take that same level of play on the road.
Turn a New Leaf. Sometimes when coaching changes happen a team will improve they're play or the season will take a big nosedive. Let's hope the team finds some new energy and motivation under Langley.