Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick Post: Teasing Wyoming

Continuing CU's campaign through the Mountain West, the Wyoming Cowboys are coming to Boulder tonight.  Tip-off is set for 7pm, and the game can be seen on Root Sports if you can't make it up to the CEC.

It's always interesting in the early going to run up against a lower-conference opponent with few losses on their schedule, but with few solid wins under their belt.  You never can tell how good they really are. Wyoming is just another example of a mid-major feasting on small conference fodder in the early going. 

Their best win so far on the season is probably a 19-point thrashing of Northern Colorado up in Laramie, and the rest of their schedule is ripe with rankings roughly equivalent to the weight of an average NFL lineman. Add to that the fact that every game, except their lone loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay, was played at home.  While they have been slicing through their schedule, beating opponents by at least double figures in all of their wins, their early season schedule has been crazy soft, so don't be too impressed by their 8-1 record.  CU is their biggest non-conference opponent, by far.
Coach Larry Shyatt hasn't lead the Pokes against stellar competition this season.
As a result, I can't really delve into their stats too much.   On Kenpom, their numbers look great, but it all comes with a massive scheduling grain of salt.  The one thing that does stick out is the lack of second chances against bad competition, but that may be a result of not having many chances on the offensive glass as they're shooting a lights-out 54% from inside the arc.  Defense has been solid, so far, with opponents being held to an eFG of 40% (good for 8th in the nation).  If only they'd played someone better than the likes of Maryland-Eastern Shore and Portland St, I could tell you what that really means.

The key player on the team is probably Luke Martinez.  The 6-4 junior shoots the three all night long, having attempted 50 treys already in the brief season.  The bad news for CU is he makes 46% of those 3's, creating a problem for the Buffs shaky perimeter pick defense.  Three times this season he's attempted nine or more 3's in a game, and I expect nothing less this evening.
Martinez is a serious outside threat.
Dishing Martinez the ball is the diminutive JayDee Luster.  The 5-9 senior from San Diego has a ridiculous 37:5 assist to turnover ratio going this season.  You may recognize his back-up, Riley Grabau, from his time leading Boulder High to the state finals last season.
JayDee Luster will spend all evening dishing the ball off.
Not knowing how Wyoming will play against "real" competition on the road, I have no choice but to pick the Buffs to win.  Wyoming has lost 23 straight road games, and the Buffs are just too good at home in non-con play.  Martinez dropping bombs all night long will surely give me indigestion, but CU should prevail again if the free throws don't crater after Wednesday's stellar performance.  A few defensive stops towards the end could make or break the game.

CU 73 - Wyoming 67



Goose said...

23 straight road games? Or 23 straight road non-conference games? Either way, that's sad.

RumblinBuff said...

I know, it's like the damn football team.

I read it in the Laramie paper, and they just said 23 straight road games. I don't know how good the fact-checking is at the Laramie Boomerang, though. I'll take a look at it.

RumblinBuff said...

I counted 23 straight road losses, against all opponents. Last road win for Wyo was Feb 28th 2009 @ Air Force.

The streak includes losses @ South Dakota, UC Irvine, Northern Colorado, Denver, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin-Green Bay, and a slew of Mountain West opponents.

Yeesh, that's bad. We need to stay away from being the team that breaks that streak.