Predicting Wyoming Basketball’s 2019-20 Non-Conference Schedule
Predicting Wyoming’s 2019-20 Non-Conference Record
Can Wyoming capitalize on their early season schedule and improve on last year’s 8-win campaign?
Wyoming is coming off of a very disappointing season in which they were only able to eke out eight wins. To their credit, they did give Justin James enough work on offense to let him earn a selection in the NBA Draft. Aside from that, it’s hard to find too many nice things to say about 2018-19.
But now it’s a new year. But will the results be much different this time around? Here’s a look at who the Cowboys will be facing in the non-conference portion of their schedule. I’ve predicted the results for each game, as well.
11/5 Idaho State
The Bengals finished tenth in the Big Sky last year and lost three of its top four scorers from last season to transfers. Balint Mocsan is the only one of that quartet coming back after last year. A new crop of JUCO transfers will give ISU’s roster a new feel, but they will likely take a few lumps as they develop chemistry. Wyoming should provide that first lump, coasting to a relatively easy win to start things off at home.
11/10 @ South Carolina
Frank Martin’s teams never lack for toughness and this year’s team should be no different. Losing Chris Silva will hurt the Gamecocks, but they do return AJ Lawson and Keyshawn Bryant, both of whom are coming off impressive freshman campaigns. UNC grad transfer Seventh Woods is also in the fold now. South Carolina should prove to be Wyoming’s first truly formidable foe, especially on the road.
11/13 CS Fullerton
Despite a second-place finish in the Big West, it’s hard to see Fullerton’s 16-18 record from last season as anything other than a disappointment. Now that Khalil Ahmad and Kyle Allman are gone, coach Dedrique Taylor will try again with a core of Jackson Rowe (11.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Austen Awosika (3.5 apg). They’ll be joined by High Point grad transfer Brandon Kamga, who scored nearly 14 points per contest in 2018-19.
11/16 Oregon State
The Beavers dodged a couple bullets when early-entry draft candidates Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson withdrew their names. Now, they return to join resident shot-swatter Kylor Kelley as Oregon State looks to reprise its top-4 finish from a year ago. Wayne Tinkle also has a few new faces in the squad, including Jarod Lucas and Dearon Tucker – but it’s the coach’s son who ultimately runs this squad.
11/19 Detroit Mercy
Last season, Antoine Davis turned heads as he chased down three-point shooting records, scoring in bunches night in and night out. Unfortunately for Davis – not to mention his head coach and father, Mike Davis – the Titans sputtered to just 11 wins. Could another coach’s son – grad transfer Brad Calipari – help right the ship for Detroit? Possibly, but it’ll be Davis who will be the bellwether for Detroit’s success this year.
Gone from the Cajuns’ roster are Jakeenan Gant and Marcus Stroman, two of the program’s best players from the past decade. In fact, four of the six players who played over 500 minutes last year are now out of the program, leaving returning guards Cedric Russell and PJ Hardy as the team’s de facto leaders. It’s hard to imagine that Louisiana wouldn’t take a considerable step backwards, which should benefit Wyoming.
11/24 Colorado (MGM Main Event, Las Vegas)
Lots of smart basketball minds are high on the Buffs coming into 2019-20 and it’s hard to disagree. Tad Boyle’s squad returns just about everybody from last season’s 23-win team which got better as the year went along. Colorado won 12 of its final 16 games, with two of those coming against Washington. If they can ride that momentum into this season, then this is a team that could contend to win the Pac-12 title.
11/26 Clemson or TCU (MGM Main Event, Las Vegas)
My guess is that Wyoming will be taking on the loser of the other MGM Main Event matchup, but who will that be? Could it be Clemson, who will need to replace a lot of scoring from last year? The Tigers lost a lot, but former Texas and Alabama standout Tevin Mack joins the squad as a grad transfer. Or will it be TCU, who bring back a likely All-Big 12 selection in Desmond Bane? Jamie Dixon’s team flamed out at the end of last season, but there’s still a lot of talent there. Regardless of which team ends up here, Wyoming will struggle.