The Cowboys are back in the CBI after three years. This time the Pokes (20-11) arefacing the North Dakota State Bison (17-13) of the Summit League. Currently the Cowboys are 10 points favorites over the Bison. Reminder that the game is not televised so you'd better drive to Laramie if you want to see the Pokes in action. It is kind of surprising to me that NDSU even made the CBI. Their record is decent but their RPI is 186 and Strength of Schedule is 254.
Saul Phillips is in his fifth year at North Dakota State and is 84-56 overall. The Bison haven't spectacular under Phillips except for 2009 when they won 26 games and made the NCAA Tournament as a 14 seed. They lost to Kansas in the first round that year. Wyoming leads the series 2-0 but both games were played back inthe 60's.
The Bison are all about offense and love to shoot the three. Sophomore guards Tyler Braun and Mike Felt are both shooting 43% from behind the arc. Felt leads the team with 77 treys this season. Braun is the leading scorer for the Bison with an average of 15.5 per game. Braun is also shooting 51% from the field this year. Lawrence Alexander and Marshall Bjorklund also average double digit scoring for the Bison.
I think the key for Cowboys will be keeping Tyler Braun contained and make sure Mike Felt doesn't get hot from outside. Braun is a 6-7 wing but besides him there isn't a lot of size for the Bison. Expect to see a game of contrasting styles here with the Bison pushing the pace while Wyoming runs it's typical methodical approach on offense and aggressive defense.
If Wyoming can stay out of foul trouble (especially Leonard Washington) they should be able to roll fairly easily. Obviously they are disappointed about not making the NIT but I expect Coach Shyatt to make sure his team is mentally ready for this one.