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Wyoming will be a dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament

How Wyoming can make a possible run in the NCAA Tournament.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Wyoming Cowboys were and at the same time were not an unexpected team to make the NCAA Tournament, but to the casual fan they might as well be coming from Mars. Wyoming was a team that was poised to compete for the Mountain West regular season title, but in mid-February the team was struck with a case of mono which hindered a few players, but most importantly star player Larry Nance, Jr. missed time to the illness.

Nance ended up missing four games -- a stretch where the Cowboys went 2-2 -- but he was not the same for the rest of the regular season which saw Wyoming close out the year with a 3-3 record with Nance in the lineup. Those loses hindered any chance of Wyoming earning an at-large berth, and the only way to make the NCAA Tournament would be to win the conference tournament.

Wyoming did that by topping San Diego State and were led behind Nance and tournament MVP Josh Adams. Nance was just so-so in this first game in the Mountain West tournament where he scored just 13 points on 6 of 15 shooting against Utah State. In the final two games against Boise State and San Diego State he picked up his game and scored 20 and 14 respectfully, plus was a force on defense.

Nance is clearly a key figure in Wyoming's success and prior to him going out they lost just four games. Road games at Cal, Utah State and SMU, plus a home lose to San Diego State. The Cowboys are clicking at the right time during their Mountain West tournament run and momentum is key in one-and-done tournament style play.

The Cowboys showed they are able to play multiple styles and be successful. Their preferred method is fewer possessions but to always keep the offense in motion to wear down the opposing team. That is what happened against San Diego State which featured less than 90 combined points, and was a slug fest, or if one prefers a defensive battle.

Against Boise State, the game was a much faster pace, and part of that was due to both teams getting many chances to score off of turnovers. The Broncos want to push the tempo against their opponents and they average 70 points per game compared to the Cowboys 61.

In short, Wyoming is capable of playing a game with multiple or limited possessions.

Areas where Wyoming is vulnerable is that they are not a great rebounding team, in fact they are one of the worst rebounding teams in the country and are ranked 330th. Derek Cooke and Nace pull down six and seven per game, but that is all the rebounding the Cowboys get.

Also, the bench is an issue for the Cowboys. Against San Diego State the bench scored just one point and played a combined 20 minutes amongst three players.

Wyoming will only go as far as Nance and Josh Adams will take them, and that is shown during the struggles when Nance missed time and was recovering. If the Cowboys bench can help supplement some of the scoring then Wyoming has the potential to be a very dangerous first round opponent, and could possible win a game or two in the Big Dance.