TCU (10-21, 1-15) and Wyoming (10-21, 3-12) face off in the play-in game of the Mountain West Tournament. The #8 and #9 seeds will play in Vegas for the chance to continue their season. The loser ends a disappointing 2010-11 season early and gets to watch the rest of the season from the couch.
The winner then advances to play #1 seed BYU on Thursday. Some how TCU is favored by 2 points heading into the game. The Horned Frogs have lost 13 in a row and look completely lost after the loss of leading scorer Ronnie Moss to suspension. TCU's lone victory in conference play did come against Wyoming but that was during the Schroyer tenure and Wyoming only had eight players dressed due to injuries.
When the two teams met in Laramie back in February the Pokes won 77-67. Amath M'Baye had a big game with 21 points and has been stepping up ever since that point. When you look at the struggles of TCU it really reminds me a lot of how Wyoming looked last year heading into the tournament.
Someone to watch for TCU will be guard JR Cadot who has scored in double figures five out of the six last games. The 6-5 SG went to Sheridan College and actually leads the Horned Frogs in rebounding with 5.8 per game. He seems to have gained the most from the loss of Moss. Containing him will be key to keeping this game close.
The Pokes have all 10 of their wins at home this year. So can they finally break the curse in Vegas? The fact they are playing TCU will help greatly. I wouldn't expect many from Texas to make the trip so the arena should be fairly friendly to the Pokes. Wyoming has played better on the road under Langley with narrow losses to New Mexico and Utah.
The biggest key for Wyoming is to have Desmar Jackson and M'Baye play like they are capable of. If both of them score 15 points or more then Wyoming should be able to win easily. If one player struggles then it could mean a very tight game.
If Wyoming does get past the Horned Frogs and plays BYU I like their chances against the Cougars. Not saying that the Pokes would beat BYU necessarily but it is a much more favorable pairing then having to deal with San Diego State. Wyoming played BYU down to the final minutes in Laramie and was just down by three at halftime when they played in Provo. Meanwhile the Aztecs crushed the Cowboys in both games. The loss of Brandon Davies also helps the Cowboys and any other team looking to knock off BYU.