No. 4 Wyoming vs. No. 5 UNLV
WHEN: March 10, 2022, 3:30 PM MST
WHERE: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
TV: CBS Sports Network
THIS YEAR: The Cowboys and Rebels met once this season, a UNLV Win on March 2, That game was also in Las Vegas.
Line: Wyoming -1
After a crazy final week of the season, we have finally reached the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament. Yesterday we had an exciting opening round of the Mountain West Tournament, and today’s quarterfinal’s are shaping up to be no different.
Today’s second Quarterfinal game features one of the most interesting match ups of the day: Wyoming and UNLV. The Cowboys and Rebels met a week ago in this same arena with UNLV winning 64-57. This game potentially has a lot of implications for next week’s NCAA Tournament as Wyoming is currently sitting on the good side of the bubble when it comes to getting into the Big Dance. The Rebels are not currently projected to make it to the Big Dance, however, a big conference tournament run on their home court and the Rebels could play spoiler to all the Mountain West teams hoping to be playing next week. With the stakes being what they are, this game takes on a much bigger significance.
Let’s look at how each team can win this game:
How UNLV can win:
UNLV beat the Cowboys a week ago by hitting timely 3 pointers and getting to the line more than the Cowboys did. To repeat last week’s victory the Rebels are going to need more of the same. This year UNLV definitely has the advantage in guard play as compared to Wyoming. Bryce Hamilton has been a monster all year and hopes to keep that going against the Cowboys. The Rebels also need to force players other than Ike and Maldonado to be the one’s who beat them. Keeping the Cowboys’ role players quiet will be huge because it makes Wyoming’s offense very one dimensional.
X Factor for UNLV: Royce Hamm Jr.
How Wyoming can win:
The Cowboys looked poised to make a fight for the top seed in the tournament two weeks ago, but the Cowboys collapsed a little over the last two weeks of the season, losing four of their last seven games. One of the biggest factors in each of those four losses has been the inability to defend the three-point shot, with their Opponents making 42 percent from beyond the arc.
The Cowboys have also struggled to get to the free throw line as of late. Getting to the line is a huge key to the Cowboy’s success as a team and the Cowboys have struggled to adjust to not getting to the line as often. The Cowboys will win today if they get production from their guys not named Ike or Maldonado. Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado have the ability to take games over but the Cowboys are at their best when their other starters are clicking. When Drake Jefferies or Xavier DuSell are hot the Cowboys are very hard to beat.
X Factor for Wyoming: Jeremiah Oden
I think this game is going to be a higher scoring game than last week, and that plays more into the Cowboys favor. Wyoming has not lost a game where they have scored 70 or more points. The Cowboys edge out the Rebels to advance the the Semi-Finals
Wyoming 77, UNLV 69