The Wyoming Cowboys are facing a similar situation to last year by not having their leading scorer Larry Nance, Jr. in the lineup. Last year, Nance missed most of the conference season with a torn ACL and the Cowboys fell off the map. Now, Nance has mono and has missed the past two games with Wyoming losing both games against Air Force and San Diego State.
Wyoming plays San Jose State on Saturday and Nance will miss this game and might possibly return by Feb. 25 when the Cowboys take on Fresno State.
To say Nance is a key cog for Wyoming's success is an understatement. He was named the preseason conference player of the year, and is the teams leading scorer (16.3 per game) and rebounder (7.2 per game).
Wyoming is already a fringe team to make the NCAA tournament due to the weak non-conference schedule, and the Cowboys need to weather the storm of Nance sitting out and not go into a tail spin like last year were they went 1-6 without Nance.
The Cowboys RPI is currently at 77 which would be too low to make the NCAA tournament if that were to be their final season number. Their non-conference RPI was 41 but the strength of schedule in out of league play was 325. The Cowboys record against the RPI top-100 is 4-4, and 3-3 against the top-50. However, the wins against bad teams are piling up with a 10-2 record against teams are 150 or higher, and the best win against that group is against Fresno State at 232.
The Cowboys schedule is manageable even without Nance the rest of the way, if he misses that time, but wins are what Wyoming needs if are to make the NCAA tournament and they need Nance to get there.