Sheep week is here! Ready or not the Wyoming Cowboys (7-7) need to figure out how to start winning on the road and against opponents with winning records. The Pokes are winless on the road and now face a much improved Colorado State Ram (10-4) team. Wyoming has enjoyed a week of rest after they missed their flight to Houston on December 30th due to weather conditions. They were scheduled to play Houston Baptist on New Years Eve but the game has not been rescheduled yet.
The Pokes didn't have much luck in conference play last year but will this year be a different story? The consensus is that we'll learn alot about this team during the first five games. After the Rams game the Cowboys host New Mexico, play @ TCU, host Utah, then travel to Air Force. The Horned Frogs, Utes and Falcons are the weaker teams in the Mountain West currently besides Wyoming. A 3-2 or 2-3 record would be respectable. Anything less than does not bode well for the rest of the schedule which features undefeated San Diego State and one loss BYU.
The Rams come into the game as 10 point favorite and that seems like a reasonable margin. They boast an RPI of 67 and strength of schedule of 120. While Wyoming sits at 306 and 335 respectfully. This will be a tough matchup as CSU boasts something the Pokes haven't seen very much this year: strong play from the bigmen. The Rams get most of their production from Forwards Andy Ogide and Travis Franklin who are both putting up 15 points a game. To counter that interior play they also get get three point shooting whichs means no rest while defending the perimiter. As a team the Rams are shooting 49.3% from the field and 37.3% on 3's.
So what does Wyoming need in order to win?
- A strong return from Afam Muojeke and Adam Waddell. Both have been slowed by injuries this year and been absent over the last couple weeks. Expect them to suit up tonight. Their leadership is needed on the floor.
- Superman Desmar. Mr. Jackson has had three consecutive games with 20+ points. If he can extend that streak then Pokes should be competitive.
- Hit the freebies. Wyoming will get to the line.. that is a given. They just need to convert on 70% or more of those opportunities.
Last year the Rams swept the Border War in basketball last year. A second consecutive sweep would not bode well for the Cowboys or the future of Coach Schroyer in Laramie. Here's to 2011 truly being a New Year and new Cowboy team hitting the floor. There should be plenty of Poke fans in Moby arena. Tonights game and the rest of the schedule will be televised this year on either the Mtn or CBS College. Hooray for TV, the Pokes haven't been broadcast since playing two games in the Cancun Challenge before Thanksgiving.