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Poke Basketball Preview & Prediction: Stanford Cardinal

Cowboys seek 10th win of the season in Diamond Head Classic

NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- San Diego State vs Wyoming Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

What: Wyoming Cowboys vs. Stanford Cardinal

When: December 22nd, 2021, 3:30 p.m. MT

Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, HI

Network: ESPNU

Line: Wyoming +1 (William Hill SB)

History: The Wyoming Cowboys hold an all-time record of 3-3 against the Stanford Cardinal, last meeting all the way back in December of 1980.

The Wyoming Cowboys will take their 9-1 record into the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu when they take on the 6-4 Stanford Cardinal. The Pokes have already played one game this year against a PAC-12 opponent, falling in a massacre at the hands of the 11th ranked Arizona Wildcats. While the Cardinal do pose another challenging matchup for the Pokes, the Cowboys are only slight underdogs in this matchup and will look to earn their 10th win on the young season on Wednesday.

What to expect from Stanford:

The Stanford Cardinal have begun their season with a 6-4 record and hold notable wins over teams like Oregon and San Jose State, as well as close-finish losses to Colorado and Texas just last week. Under the leadership of sixth-year Head Coach Jerod Haase, the Cardinal have taken steps up with their program in recent years. They are led in scoring and rebounding by former five-star recruit Forward Harrison Ingram. Ingram is the catalyst for this Stanford team, averaging 12.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Sophomore Guard Michael O’Connell has also contributed heavily to the team’s success this season, leading Stanford in assists (3.5) and steals (1.2) per game so far this season. The team has shot relatively well from the floor (45%) and decently well from three (33.7%). The Cardinal have had their ups and downs this season and do lack a sense of offensive fire-power but did compete for the entirety of their last outing on a neutral floor against #17 Texas.

What to expect from Wyoming:

Jeff Linder’s Wyoming Cowboys have started their season with a bang with their lone loss being to the nationally-ranked Arizona Wildcats. While that game wasn’t a very close outcome (94-65) due to first-half destruction from Arizona, it is worth noting that the Cowboys ended up outscoring the very deep Wildcat roster in the second half. With that said, this Cowboy team has exceeded expectations so far winning every one of their other games. The Cowboys average 79.7 points per game, good for 43rd in the nation in scoring offense. They have also been very good at holding their opponents to minimal points, only allowing them to score 62.8 points per contest. They shoot very well from the floor (48.7%) and also from three (37.3%). Sophomore Forward Graham Ike has broken out this season, leading the team in points (19.6) and rebounds (8.5) per game, while Senior Guard Hunter Maldonado leads the team in assists (5.2). The team also has three other players (Dusell, Jeffries, Oden) that are currently averaging double-figures. The question that remains for Wyoming is how well can this team compete against their more difficult opponents. Having not played any games yet against teams in their conference, there are still a lot of people doubting the Cowboys despite their 9-1 record to start the season. This game against Stanford should be another good indication towards being able to tell whether or not this Cowboy team is a legit contender in the Mountain West.

Prediction:

Just as the spread for this game indicates, I believe this game will end up being very close. Due to recent successes and allotted time off to prepare, I am going to take the more consistent and efficient Cowboys in a close affair.

Final Score:

Wyoming 74

Stanford 72