The Mountain West needs just one more victory to secure the win in the MWC/MVC Challenge that started this week. The MWC holds 4-0 advantage over the Missouri Valley Conference currently. The Wyoming Cowboys (2-5) are in desperate need of a win and would love to have a victory over Indiana State (3-4) to seal the league challenge.
The Pokes are losers of three straight and coming off a 10 point loss to South Dakota on Wednesday. This will be the final game that is broadcast until the conference portion of the schedule starts. The Mtn. will carry the game that starts at 5pm MST. The two teams last met in 2002 and Wyoming leads the overall series with the Sycamores 2-1.
Though their records are both under .500 I doubt that Indiana State goes down easily. Their RPI is currently 136 compared to to just 288 for the Cowboys. They most recently lost on the road to Notre Dame 81-72. They also have a pretty famous alumnist named Larry Bird, perhaps you've heard of him?
For Indiana State there are two starters returning from last years team that went 17-15 last year and finished sixth in the Mo Valley. Greg Lensing took over this as head coach for the Fighting Larry Birds. Their lead by two veteran guards in Dwayne Lathan and Jake Kelly who are both averaging over 12 points a game. Carl Richard is another guard who scores 11 points a game and leads the team with over 6 rebounds a game.
These two teams are fairly evenly matched overall except for two categories that fall heavily in favor of Indiana State. They average three more offense rebounds per game and shooting much better from the three point range: 37% to 27%. Though to be fair it is pretty easy for almost any team to have a better 3P% than the Pokes right now.
Wyoming has been carried offensively by Amath M'Baye lately. The sophomore has shown quite the progression over the team's last three games and scored at least 15 points. On the season he is averaging 11 points and 5 rebounds.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- Team defense. The Pokes have been letting teams light them up lately and the shooting performance that South Dakota put on was embarrassing. Wyoming needs to increase the pressure and stop the easy shots from their opponents.
- Hit the freebies. Wyoming has been really inconcsistent with their free throw shooting. Throwing away free points = throwing away wins.
- Home cooking. After three games on the road hopefully playing in the AA will make a few more shots start dropping.