WHAT: Wyoming Cowboys (17-9, 8-5 MWC, T-3rd) @ Colorado State Rams (14-13, 5-9 MWC, T-8th)
WHEN: Saturday, February 22nd @ 4:00 p.m. MST
WHERE: Moby Arena, Fort Collins, CO
Coverage: ROOT Sports
LAST MEETING: The last meeting between these two Border War rivals resulted in the Rams (23-7, 10-5 MWC) traveling to Laramie and putting a pretty severe beating on the Cowboys (18-12, 4-12 MWC) on their home court, 78-56. With it being the last game of the 2012-13 regular season, Wyoming ended the year on a five-game skid heading into the MWC tournament, while Colorado State went into the tournament with a great deal of momentum that would eventually lead to a respectable NCAA Tournament run.
What to Watch - Colorado State: The Rams are looking to bounce back from a home loss against Boise State, 84-72 on Tuesday night, where they held even in most statistical categories except the one that would be the deciding factor in the game - 3-pointers. The Broncos were lights out from long range, shooting 13-of-22 beyond the arc compared to 6-of-19 for the Rams, and that would be the difference-maker for the Broncos to walk away with the victory.
CSU's record doesn't necessarily reflect this team's capabilities or talent potential, and considering that all rules and logic tend to fly out the window whenever these two teams meet in almost any sport, I expect a rather relentless Rams squad to take the court on Saturday championed by J.J. Avila and Daniel Bejarano's average combined 33 points per game.
What to Watch - Wyoming: Wyoming is on an emotional rollercoaster as of late, boasting a three game winning streak, however with the latest victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs, 72-66, costing them their leading scorer and rebounder in Larry Nance Jr. Prior to tearing his ACL with fifteen minutes to play, Nance was the lone constant for the Cowboys, keeping them within striking distance as the rest of the team, led by Nathan Sobey's 26 points, slowly came around offensively to seal the victory.
Wyoming is looking to prove that they are a quality team, and not just one quality player with a support staff around him. They will likely be experimenting with a few different lineups to find the right balance to make up for the scoring and rebounding voids left by Nance's absence. The Cowboys are a very scrappy team though, and haven't had much trouble winning games while losing rebounding battles. If the Cowboys can successfully pass the leadership torch, I don't expect anything less than their typically aggressive defense, and patient and disciplined offense - just with a few different faces in the lineup.