After an impressive start of the season the Wyoming Cowboys are sitting at 12-2 with two non conference games remaining. In the first of two rematches the Cowboys face the Utah Valley State Wolverines (7-9) tonight in Orem. Then on the ninth they will host Idaho State to complete their non league schedule.
If you thought that Wyoming could be heading into the conference portion of the schedule with a possible 14-2 record then put your hand up. Ok, now put your hand down because your lying and you know it. The Cowboys have already surpassed their win totals of 10 that they reached in 2009 and 2010. Pretty amazing job that Larry Shyatt has done already in just a few months on the job.
The Cowboys haven't faced the toughest schedule in the league but they have done well against some tough teams and finally gotten some wins on the road (2-2). Wyoming is 2-1 against opponents with RPI's of 51-100 and 0-1 against with teams of RPI ranked 1-50. The Poke defense has kept teams down to just 51 points per game and shooting 36% from the field.
With Utah Valley it will be intersting to see what changes from the first game. In their first meeting in Laramie the Cowboys ended up cruising to a 74-41 victory. The Pokes jumped out to a very strong first half lead of 42-17 and their tenacious defense gave the Wolverines fits. Wyoming struggled from behind the arc going 6 of 24 but that didn't matter much because Leonard Washington was on fire. The big man went six of seven and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.
One of the most entertaining parts of the game was JayDee Luster defending the coaches son Holton Hunsaker. Even though Hunsaker is three inches taller then Luster, he could do nothing on offense and became visually frustrated having to deal with the tough defense from Luster. Hunsaker went 0-6 from the field with two assists and four turnovers. Alfonzo Hubbard had 10 points and was the only member of the Wolverines to reach double figures.
So with more then a month between games and playing in front of their home crowd will this be a different Wolverine team? Possibly, they certainly will be more prepared for the Cowboy defense. Geddes Robinson is a 6-5 forward but he does average a double double on the season. He is also the only starter that can really shoot. Isiah Williams leads the team with 13.8 points per game but is only shooting 38% from the field. 6-9 Center Ben Aird averages 8 points a game but is shooting just 39% on the season which is awful for a center that doesn't shoot from long range.
This game may be closer then the previous meeting but the Cowboys should still roll in this one. One last thought on Utah Valley who is a member of the Great West Conference. Talk about crazy geography in this conference that includes: New Jersey Tech, North Dakota, Houston Baptist, Chicago State and UT-Pan American. North Dakota is also bailing after this year. Yikes, no wonder Utah Valley was begging to get invited into the WAC.