Wyoming V.S. Colorado State: Game Preview
Both teams need a conference win, what better than in a win in the Border War?
Who comes away with their first conference win on Saturday?
WHO: Wyoming Cowboys (5-10, 0-3 Mountain West) At Colorado State Rams (9-7, 0-3 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, January 4th—1:00 PM EST/11:00 AM MST
WHERE: Moby Arena, Fort Collins, CO
TV: AT&T Sportsnet
SERIES RECORD: Wyoming leads all-time series 136-94
ODDS: Colorado State -12, per KenPom
PREVIEW: Conference play has brought fans around the Mountain West joy and sorrow this past week. With New Mexico and Utah State suffering their first losses in conference play this past Wednesday at the hands of San Jose State and UNLV respectively and an improved Colorado State team that has gone winless in three games so far, it has been a mixed bag.
Looking ahead to Saturday as Wyoming takes a trip south to Moby Arena to face Colorado State in the first Border War game of the decade. Wyoming leads the all-time series and even though the Rams have a .702 win percentage at home, the Cowboys lead the all-time series in Moby Arena 56-52. This is a big game for both schools and a win means a lot for both sides, in basketball and all sports, just ask Allen Edwards.
Colorado State looks much improved from last year, with some solid wins in non-conference play at Tulsa, against PAC-12 member Washington State and Loyola Chicago. But a 0-3 start in conference play puts a bit of a halt to their momentum heading into the new year. Guys who are getting a lot of minutes on this team are freshman and sophomores and the experience they are getting for the future will be invaluable but their youth shows at times on the court.
Senior center Nico Carvacho has taken a step back from his dominant statistics a year ago, but you could also argue that he has a different team around him. I think a jump in production from the senior in conference play may be the difference maker and the addition of VCU transfer P.J. Byrd at semester break has been a positive one to an already strong backcourt. Byrd had 5 points, 1 steal and 6 Assists in 17 minutes of play against Doane last Saturday.
It needs to be a team effort for the Rams on Saturday but Carvacho needs to take advantage of a Cowboy team down low that ranks 262nd in rebounding. (The Rams rank just outside the top-50 at 53rd)
The Cowboys also need a conference win on Saturday and they will rely on guards Hunter Maldonado and Jake Hendricks to do so. Hendricks’ play has been a bit lack luster and many expected a jump in production heading into his senior year with his best game thus far against D-III Nebraska Wesleyan in which he scored 21 points on 6-14 shooting from three. He’s averaging 18.6 PPG over his last three games against moderate competition but it’s never a bad time to start getting hot from beyond the arc.
Sophomore guard Hunter Maldonado like many on the Cowboys roster hails from Colorado (four in total) and leads the Cowboys in scoring (17.6 PPG) and rebounding (5.5 RPG). Aside from Hendricks, Maldonado hasn’t received consistent help all season and looks very much like a certain Sacramento King who played a similar role for the Cowboys in his career.
Allen Edwards needs a great shooting night from his guards and a promising defensive/rebounding effort from sophomore big man Hunter Thompson to secure a win.
Prediction: Colorado State 77, Wyoming 64