Who Wyoming Fans should Root for in the NCAA Tournament

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 09: Wyoming Cowboys fans react during the first round game of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball tournament against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs at the Thomas & Mack Center March 9, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. TCU won 70-61. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

68 teams in the tournament means a lot of basketball for Wyoming fans to watch without their favorite team playing.  So who should you be rooting for to win and lose may surprise a few.  We're going fill you in on what teams to watch and other news that is happening in the Wyoming basketball search.

First Things First: Root for the Mountain West

So that means San Diego State, UNLV and BYU.  Yes, you read that right I said a Wyoming fan should root for BYU to win some games this year in the tournament.  San Diego State and UNLV are pretty to cheer for but why BYU?  Well even though the Cougars are going to the WCC next year their success now will help the Mountain West in the future years. 

When teams win in the NCAA Tournament they win credits for each game they play.  Those credits of $240,000 are then paid to the Mountain West over the next six years.  So four wins would be be nearly a million extra dollars headed to the Mountain West.  So if the Cougars go on a run to the sweet sixteen they will help line the coffers of their former conference mates for over half a decade.  San Diego State and BYU face favorable matchups in the opening round.  It will be a very close game between UNLV and Illinois.

After this you can continue to hate on BYU and hope they lose all games in the future.

Who Should Lose in the First Round

  • St Johns
  • Florida
  • Kansas

In order for Wyoming to get their next coach hired quicker some teams will need to have their season shortened.  A  number of assistant coaches on teams are candidates for the Wyoming opening but they can't  accept the job if they still working for another school.  So we need St. Johns (Mike Dunlap), Florida (Larry Shyatt) and Kansas (Joe Dooley) to lose on the first weekend of play.  Then the ball can really get rolling on this coaching search.

More on the coaching hunt after the jump.

A report came out today from CoachingNewsOnline ($$) that a Big East assistant interviewed for the Wyoming job on Monday.  That would have to be Mike Dunlap who is an assistant at St Johns like we mentioned earlier and also happens to be in Denver currently where the Red Storm will be facing Gonzaga.  

Dunlap worked for the Denver Nuggets for a couple years and had great success at Metro State as head coach there.  He still owns a house in Denver so I'm sure he is happy with that bracket.  The chance to coach at Wyoming would put him back on the Front Range and in his comfort zone.  

A new candidate that popped up big time on the radar is former Oregon Coach Ernie Kent.    Kent spent a long time at Oregon and had some great years with the Ducks.  His tenure ended after three rough seasons and some bad choices on his part.  Kent has a solid resume but a number of Wyoming fans aren't happy if he is the guy. 

Billy Gillispie is out of the running and is most likely headed to Texas Tech unless Oklahoma can some how grab him first.  There may have been big pressure from large donors to not interview Gillispie for the opening.  The love affair that Wyoming fans for Gillispie is very strong but they will have to see what he can do at another school.

For the most part, the exact level of interest in the job is unknown, as UW waits to interview Division I coaches and high-profile assistants upon their exit from postseason play.

However, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said he can vouch for the curiosity.

"I've had calls from people and a couple coaches have stopped by this week at the [MWC] tournament saying, 'Anything you can do to help me?'" said Thompson

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