As expected after Wyoming defeated Boise State last week, the win catapulted the Cowboys into the No. 25 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll. It wasn't a surprise. The Poke are one of the hottest mid-major teams in the nation, right there behind Wichita State and Virginia Common Wealth.
Wyoming (15-2) is enjoying a seven-game winning streak, a 4-0 start to Mountain West play and has beaten teams such as UNLV and rival Colorado State to garner its first ranking in the polls since March 15, 1998.
Now the Pokes switch their attention to Wednesday's matchup against visiting San Diego State in Arena-Auditorium. While the Aztecs' 12-4 overall record is admirable, they shouldn't be too much of a threat to Wyoming. Their schedule is loaded with wins over weaker opponents, and it recently dropped a conference game to Fresno State (8-9).
Of course, San Diego State has the chops to upset Wyoming and end the Pokes' magical run this season. But that's assuming Wyoming senior Larry Nance Jr. doesn't continue his tear as one of the nation's top players. In two of his three most recent games, he's notched double-doubles, including an 18-point, 10-rebound performance against the Broncos on Saturday. If the Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year produces at that clip against San Diego State, the Aztecs won't a chance.
San Diego State enters with its 2014 Mountain West regular season title in hand and is led by its defense - a unit that is ranked 14th in scoring defense (53.5) and 13th in field goal percentage (36.6.). Nance's performance Wednesday should determine if those numbers actually depict how well the Aztecs play defense or if their easy schedule is responsible for inflating their rankings.
Winston Shepherd will lead San Diego State offensively. He averages 11.4 points per game is fresh off a 20-point effort in his team's win over New Mexico last week. He shot 7-of-10 from the floor, grabbed nine rebounds and played 29 minutes. Wyoming will want to stop him first and then contain the Aztecs' deep bench of reserves.
Wyoming and San Diego State have met 75 times on the hardwood, and the Cowboys hold a 39-35 advantage in the all-time series. They're 26-8 when the matchup is played in Laramie. Wyoming hasn't lost to the Aztecs in two seasons at home, and that trend should continue for a third year Wednesday.
ESPN2 is televising the Mountain West matchup at 11 p.m. ET.