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Poke Basketball Game Preview & Prediction: Detroit Mercy Titans

Wyoming opens season at home vs. Detroit Mercy

Wyoming v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

What: Wyoming Cowboys vs. Detroit Mercy Titans

When: Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 7:00 p.m. M.T.

Where: Arena-Auditorium, Laramie, WY

Network: Mountain West Network

Line: Wyoming -5 (via William Hill SB)

Series: The Pokes and Titans have each swapped victories on their home floors, meeting a total of four times and splitting those matchups 2-2. In their last matchup in 2019, the Pokes dismantled the Titans in Laramie by a score of 79-46.

The Wyoming Men’s Basketball team will welcome in fans to Arena-Auditorium for their much anticipated season on Wednesday night, against the Detroit Mercy Titans. Under first-year Head Coach Jeff Linder, the Pokes finished 2020-2021 with a record of 14-11, a five-win turnaround from one season prior, which included a 7-9 record in Mountain West Conference play. The Pokes will face off Wednesday night against a Detroit Mercy squad that finished last season with a record of 12-10 under their 4th year Head Coach Mike Davis. The Titans finished last season third in the Horizon Conference, posting a conference record of 10-6, their first winning season since 2015-16. The Titans haven’t been dancing since winning their conference tournament in 2012, and are looking to compete once again in their division for a chance at that very opportunity. Meanwhile, the Cowboys will look to rely on depth and experienced leadership this season, in hopes of competing for a Mountain West title and NCAA tournament birth for the first time since 2015.

What to expect?

The Pokes are heading into the 2021-22 campaign with expectations that are quite similar to the ones in which their Cowboy companions on the football field had. Jeff Linder will return for his second season and will lead his squad of nine returning players from last season, including all five of his starters, into their season opener on Wednesday night vs. a Detroit Mercy team that Linder believes should not be taken lightly.

“It’s not one of those openers where you can sit back and relax a little bit,” Linder said. “This is a good team coming in here, and we’re excited to get challenged.”

The Titans will be led on Wednesday by AP All-American Honorable Mention Antoine Davis, the son of Detroit Mercy Head Coach Mike Davis. The 6 foot 1 Senior Guard averaged a team-high 24 points last season including 2.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He will be the key player to look out for in Wednesday night’s matchup, for the Titans.

As for Wyoming, there isn’t really a one-player difference-maker that sets himself apart. A number of players that we should all have our minds on include Xavier Dusell, Hunter Maldonado, Graham Ike, and Kenny Foster. All four Poke players contributed heavily to the teams’ ability to score last season, all averaging over nine points per game. Maldonado led the way in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per contest. Last season, the Pokes averaged 76.6 points per game, which was good for the most in the Mountain West. They also shot a conference-high of 252 threes, ranking them 22nd in the entire country. If Detroit Mercy wants a shot at taking down the Cowboys, they’ll have to defend the perimeter heavily.

Prediction:

I will lean toward the side of history in this matchup. The Cowboys have never lost at home against the Titans, which I expect will continue. I see a high-scoring game unfolding in the 2021-2022 home opener with the Pokes covering.

Final Score:

Wyoming 89

Detroit Mercy 61