This should be fun. The senior heavy Wyoming Cowboys look to regain their form before the start of the Mountain West Tournament. Utah State needs to win out to finish in third place and get a better position to make a run at a possible Mountain West tournament title.
Wyoming has been struggling lately even with Larry Nance, Jr. back from his bout with mononucleosis. In his absence, the Cowboys went 2-2 with those two wins against San Jose State and Nevada, which have a combined record of 11-45. Things have yet to return to normal for Nance who has had nine points in his two games back for the Cowboys. Josh Adams has led the teams scoring attack in Nance's absence averaging over 22 PPG over the last four games. Wyoming not only has one of the best defenses in the conference they have the 10th best scoring defense in the nation. The last time the Aggies faced a top 10 defense they lost by 20.
Utah State is on a six game winning streak after a road win at Air Force. Darius Perkins who had been so hot as of late went ice cold in that game but will be looking to be a major contributor tonight. David Collette, the Mountain West's leader in field goal percentage (58.4%), draws a tough match up in Wyoming's athletic bigs. Wyoming's Arena-Auditorium has always been a tough place to get wins and playing there on the Cowboys senior night will only make the Aggies task tougher.
Match ups to watch:
Wyoming 3-point defense vs. Utah State's 3-point Shooters - If there is one area on defense where Wyoming Struggles it's defending the three. With opponents averaging 34.8 percent (219th in nation) against them Utah State's 39.8 percent (6th best in the nation) could present problems.
David Collette vs. Larry Nance Jr. - Nance is too good to not bounce back. Collette is young and very talented but easily frustrated. Fun fact: Collette leads the MW in personal fouls with 103. Twelve more than the next closest player (Fresno State' s Marvelle Harris 91)
Wisdom & Experience vs. Youth - Wyoming has four senior starters. Utah State has one senior on the entire team. It's Wyoming's Senior Day in an arena that is already incredibly hard to play in. It will test the young Utah State teams communication and ability to withstand Wyoming's runs when they happen and trust me they will happen.
This game is critical for both teams. Wyoming has enough talent to make a run at the MW tournament championship but they need to get it together and quickly. Utah State, is looking to continue there streak and keep on pace to finish third in the MW (a far cry from the preseason pick of 10th). As dangerous as Utah State's three point shooting is I think Nance, and the other seniors, will finish strong on a court where they have played so well for so many years. Wyoming wins on senior night 60-55.