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Mountain West Hoops: Tough From Top To Bottom

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The second time through the Mountain West schedule has not proven kind to the Wyoming Cowboys. After upsetting ranked UNLV the Cowboys have dropped three straight. With an overall record of 18-8 and 4-6 in Mountain West play the Pokes have still put together an impressive season. There are four games remaining before the conference tournament in in Vegas starts. The competition is so tough in the Mountain West right now that the Cowboys could end up finishing the regular season as high as second or as low as eighth place.

Even if the Cowboys don't win another game this year, this season will still be a success. It would be a rough a finish if that happened and I'm sure Shyatt and the players will do everything possible to make sure that doesn't happen. Every team in the Mountain West has stepped up this year and the depth is incredible. The only chance at a NCAA tournament berth for the Pokes appears to be winning the Mountain West tourney. The conference tournament will likely be the best in league history with eight very dangerous teams.

Still the chances are still good for the Cowboys to end up in a postseason tournament if they don't win the Mountain West. The NIT would be nice but right now the Pokes are projected to play in the CBI tournament. Lots of Wyoming fans weren't happy when the team played Northeastern in the CBI back in 2009. After the last two rough seasons I think it is at least a breath of fresh air that postseason tournaments are an option for the Pokes. 10 win seasons are depressing.

It certainly won't be easy for the Cowboys to make it to 20 wins this year. The bottom of the conference has picked up their game recently. Air Force is now 2-1 after firing coach Jeff Reynolds. Their latest victory was a 58-56 thriller over San Diego State on Saturday. TCU is incredibly tough at home as the Cowboys learned in January. The Horned Frogs beat CSU and UNLV in back to back home games this month. However they have lost on the road to SMU (11-16) and then Boise State.

The Broncos were abysmal to start conference play. They started off 0-7 and are now winners of three straight. Those wins include a road win over Air Force and home wins against CSU and TCU. Wyoming travels to San Diego State before hosting Boise State and TCU. Wyoming will need to figure how to keep the offense running in the second half if they want to win another game this year. In their three straight losses the Pokes were outscored in the second half: 25-19 vs New Mexico, 30-17 vs Air Force and 33-18 vs Colorado State.

The crowds have certainly been bigger this year for conference play but only 4,881 showed up for the Air Force game. The fans need to make it for the last two games and give the Pokes a big home-court advantage