Well here go again.. another home basketball game for Wyoming. This time the UNLV Rebels (15-5, 3-3) head to Laramie and are 12.5 point favorites. After last Saturdays embarrassing loss to Air Force the Cowboys look like a shell of a team. They already have their one "upset" of the year when they beat New Mexico and have struggled ever since.
The Rebels have played a tough conference schedule so far with losses to BYU, San Diego State and up and coming Colorado State. Last Saturday they did hold off New Mexico 63-62. Guard Tre'Von Willis is probable to play tonight after missing the Lobo game due to a knee injury. The senior guard is the floor general for the Rebs and if he is unable to play it would be a boost for the Cowboys chances.
UNLV will also be starting someone new at center with Quintrell Thomas back in the lineup. Thomas was forced to bench after landing in Coach Kruger's doghouse due to foul trouble. Brice Massamba took over the starting spot 14 games into the season but only managed 3.7 points and 2.4 rebounds. The Rebels also have a 6-11 freshman Carlos Lopez who will see some time off the bench. All three players are averaging over four points a game but Thomas is the only one who has had success rebounding with 2.8 per game average.
While the Rebels do have plenty of post players their main strategy is long range shooting. Oscar Bellfield has 35 three pointers this year and is shooting 39% from behind the arc. Chace Stanback has hit 27 treys and carries a 37% average. Rebels boast a huge RPI advantage of 31 to 286.
So what can Wyoming do to win tonight? Having a starting lineup at full strength should help. Djibril Thiam should be ready to go tonight which will help inside. After the breakout games of Adam Waddell and Daylen Harrison against New Mexico those two have been quiet. The Pokes will need a break through performance from someone besides Desmar Jackson. If Francisco Cruz can get hot from behind the arc that would be a start.