Air Force vs. Wyoming: Game Preview
Both squads could use a win in this weekends back-to-back series.
Wyoming heads on the road to Air Force this weekend, with both programs looking for wins in the series.
WHO: Air Force (3-7, 1-5) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (7-4, 1-3 in the MW)
WHEN: Game 1: Saturday, January 16th 2:00 PM MT
Game 2: Monday, January 18th 7:00 PM MT
WHERE: Clune Arena, Colorado Springs, CO
TV: Both games can be see on the Mountain West Network
Stream: Both games can be seen for free on FuboTV with a seven-day trial
Line: KenPom, Cowboys are favored to win by 1-point in each game
SERIES RECORD: Wyoming Leads 78-39
This weekend’s first match up in the back-to-back series at the United States Air Force Academy provides a great opportunity for both squads featured to begin their winning ways.
— Air Force Men's Basketball (@AF_MBB) January 14, 2021
This weekend’s series between the Air Force Falcons and Wyoming Cowboys sure has more on the line than meets the eye. Coach Scott and Coach Linder are in year one (yes I know Scott is a rehire, but it’s been awhile) of their respective programs and may be having different experiences.
We all know Air Force is a tough job, but Scott has been here before (went full circle there) and he’s won here. But still, the Falcons are 3-7 (1-5) on the year and have yet to find their edge or on court advantage. Coach Scott eluded to coming in with a fresh pair of eyes and giving everyone a shot who shows him they can play in his system. Aside from freshman guard Glen McClintock who has played his way into the starting lineup, every other heavily utilized player was on the roster last season and are yielding results I think we all expected.
Wyoming and coach Linder on the other hand only return four players from last year’s squad and even welcome three new starters. Alongside reliable and proven players like Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson, newcomers have made an impact immediately like juco transfer Drake Jefferies and freshman post Jeremiah Oden.
This new look Cowboys squad has a little bit of everything, size, athleticism, sharpshooters like Kenny Foster and Jefferies but they are still a very young team. After a six-game winning streak, which included a high major upset, the youth and inexperience is starting to show. But the size, athleticism and versatility mentioned above may be enough to head home with some wins.
Throwing ⬇️ from every angle.
— Wyoming Cowboy Basketball (@wyo_mbb) January 15, 2021
Match up of the night: The Floor Generals
A.J. Walker has taken the reigns for the Falcons this season under returning head coach Joe Scott. The 6-2 junior is averaging 13.9 PPG 3.7 RPG & 2.7 APG while also performing as a defensive anchor on the perimeter with 1.9 SPG. His defensive efforts may be well used as his opposition, Marcus Williams is averaging 17.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG & 3.9 APG. Though his conference average of 15.5 PPG is a slight dip, the true freshman is a part of a core group of newcomers who can score at all three levels.
While the Falcons should be a little battle tested and up to the task at this point of the season. They aren’t as deep and only have seven players log double-digit minutes with three logging over thirty-five a game. Even though the Falcon’s backcourt may be more experienced, sometimes talent trumps experience.
What’s at stake:
In this take, I would normally try and break what’s at stake for each team a part, but given the squads, it is actually very similar. Both squads have simple wins in the win column at stake this weekend because after Saturday and Monday’s series is over each squad have bigger tests on the schedule.
Air Force stays at home but welcomes conference juggernaut San Diego State on Friday the 22nd. The Aztecs just lost to Utah State last night and given another loss to the Aggies tomorrow, a couple of bounce back wins against the Falcons would be just what the doctor ordered.
Wyoming is in a similar position instead they trade in their suitcases for their homecourt when they welcome mid-table Nevada next Friday to the Dome of Doom. The Cowboys are riding a three-game losing streak since beating Fresno State in their conference opener a few weeks ago, they have to change course and tomorrow’s game can be the start of that.
Prediction: Wyoming 77, Air Force 68
The KenPom line on this one has the Cowboys edging the Falcons out by one point, and even though Air Force has one of the more surprising home-court advantages in the conference, I think with the right start the Cowboys will cover it and then some.
So, tune in folks as televised conference games that don’t require a cable package are always a treat. And with the possibility of quickly rising up the conference standings with two wins, I expect all-out effort from these squads.