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2017 CBI: Wyoming hosts Eastern Washington

Let’s take a look at the Eagles, shall we?

NCAA Basketball: San Jose State at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The Wyoming Cowboys will host the Eastern Washington Eagles Wednesday night. IT will be part of the opening round of the CBI.

Before I completely whiff on yet another game prediction, let’s take a look at our opponents.

Eastern Washington went 22-11 (13-5) this season and earned the second seed in the Big Sky Conference. They beat Sacramento State in the quarterfinals before losing in the semis to Weber State.

The Eagles and the Cowboys, on paper, are surprisingly similar teams. It’s honestly a little spooky.

Points per game: UW - 77.5, EWU - 79.2

Points allowed per game: UW - 75.5, EWU - 75.8

Rebounds per game: UW - 38.5, EWU - 35.5

Assists per game: UW - 14.9, EWU - 12.4

These two teams clearly favor the same run-and-gun type system. This could result in either a magical, offensive affair or a game where everything blows up in one teams face (probably Wyoming’s but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).

One thing to keep in mind is this quick little table of Eastern Washington’s top four scorers:

EWU Top Four Scorers

Player Points per game (ppg)
Player Points per game (ppg)
Bogdan Bliznyuk 20.4
Jacob Wiley 20.2
Felix Von Hofe 11
Sir Washington 6.7

That’s quite a drop off.

For comparison, all of Wyoming’s top four score at least 11 points per game.

What I’m getting at is that it looks like, on paper, that the Eagles offense operates primarily out of Bliznyuk and Wiley. If the Cowboys can shut one or both of them down, they should have an easy time winning.

ESPN’s RPI backs me up, rating the two teams as near equals, with their Average Scoring Margins (the difference between how good their defense and offense are compared to an average team) within 0.2 points of each other.

Now, RPI gives an edge to Wyoming’s offense, rating it two points higher than Eastern Washington’s, but Eastern Washington has shown a more sturdy defense over the season.

BPI holds Wyoming to a higher standard and gives them a 67.7% chance to win. I, however, took a statistics class one time and know that their chances are either 100% or 0%.

One intangible is the elevation. Yes, I know, this is kinda tired and played out, but it’s definitely a factor, especially if the highest court in the Big Sky is nearly a quarter mile lower than Laramie. The high-tempo offense both teams employ could potentially be the downfall of the Eagles.

Cowboys by 5.

See you next time.