Welcome back to Reo’s Totally-Real-and-Not-Fake Mailbag: Basketball Edition!
While we were covering football, Wyoming basketball quietly became one of the more surprising teams in the Mountain West (in a good way!).
Let’s get into it.
Why has Wyoming been “surprising”?
I’m glad you asked.
Wyoming is currently 10-3 going into league play. That record is second best in the conference, better than New Mexico, Boise State, and San Diego State (!!!).
One of those three losses was in an overtime thriller to a ranked USC team. No other Mountain West team has come that close to upending a ranked team.
Wyoming is also undefeated at home so far, which isn’t as surprising, given the altitude and the Dome of Doom’s reputation.
What are some of the season highlights so far?
Well, the USC game is up there.
Others include an 81-73 win over Northern Iowa in a March Madness Rematch; a 72-66 win over Troy, which featured an hour-and-fifteen minute power outage; and two nail-biting victories over Montana.
Another “highlight-that-isn’t-really-a-highlight” is Wyoming’s exhibition game against Chadron State in Jason McManamen’s hometown of Torrington, Wyoming.
Who’s the MVP so far?
You could make a case for Justin James or McManamen, but, to me, it’s Hayden Dalton.
Dalton leads the team in rebounds and assists per game with 8.0 and 3.1, respectively. He’s also top-five in three-point percentage, PPG, blocks, field-goal percentage, and minutes per game.
He also had 18 points and 18 rebounds in the USC game, the first Cowboy to have that stat line since Leonard Washington in 2012-13. He also currently owns the longest double-double streak in UW history (4 straight games).
Who are they playing tonight? How are they doing?
The Cowboys open league play against Air Force tonight in Laramie at 7 pm (the game will be live-streamed on Twitter).
Air Force has been, well, grounded in non-conference play. They opened their season with five straight wins, scoring 90.2 points per game and allowing 67. Since then, they’ve gone 2-6, scoring 71.5 ppg while allowing 75.
How do these two teams compare?
Air Force ranks 99th in scoring, while Wyoming ranks 101st. However, UW grabs more rebounds, 40.2 to 36.9.
We can also use the Transitive Property of Basketball to compare these two. Wyoming played Denver University and won 82-70. Air Force played them and lost 77-65.
Are you still doing predictions?
I’m sure as hell gonna try.
These two teams seem pretty close on paper, but Wyoming has performed better against better opponents. UW’s non-conference RPI is 101, while Air Force’s is 138 (for those unfamiliar with RPI, higher numbers are better).
Also, this game is played in Laramie.
Wyoming over Air Force.
See you next time.