Gear up for gameday: Boise State
LARAMIE -- Wyoming was supposed to scrimmage the University of Colorado last fall.
COVID-19 had other plans.
That can now be looked at as a missed opportunity. Jeff Linder wanted his young team to play in a game -- whether the final score mattered or not -- that emphasizes just how important each possession really is.
For instance, Wyoming had just 63 offensive possessions in the finale against Fresno State last Monday. They didn't make the most of it, falling 81-61 while shooting just 38.6 percent from the field.
You can compare that to the 79 possessions the Cowboys had in a 97-61 season-opening victory over Mississippi Valley State.
Those numbers should continue to drop as the competition improves.
Basically, Linder eluded to, a preseason contest with CU would've been an important showing to prepare his team for the one that is coming to the Arena-Auditorium tonight -- Boise State.
If you were wondering, Air Force had just 60 offensive possessions Friday against the Broncos in an 80-69 loss.
"Boise right now is playing as well as anyone in country," Linder said of the Broncos, who enter tonight looking for a school record 11th win in a row. "... It's a good measuring stick. That's the beauty of our guys, they're not scared."
From 2010-16, Wyoming's first-year head coach was Leon Rice's lead assistant in Boise. He helped lead the Broncos to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths before bolting for the head coaching job at Northern Colorado.
Linder said the team he puts on the court now -- six freshmen, three sophomores and a trio of juniors -- reminds him of the 2012-13 Boise State squad that played in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio as a No. 13 seed.
Perhaps, that Broncos' team arrived before its time.
That squad was loaded with underclassmen, including five freshmen. They were led by a pair of sophomores, Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks.
They also didn't have a player over 6-foot, 9-inches tall.
Sound kind of familiar?
Entering tonight's tilt, Wyoming's scoring leader is true freshman Marcus Williams. The Texas product is averaging 17.6 points per game. That's fourth in the nation amongst rookies.
Hunter Maldonado (14.6) and Kenny Foster (10.7) are the only other two Cowboys scoring in double figures. Hunter Thompson and Drake Jeffries are averaging more than nine points per outing.
That Boise State team above -- they also had three players averaging double digits per night.
The team the Pokes are hosting tonight on national television -- There's four, led by Derrick Alston's 17.8 points per game. Their fifth leading scorer, Max Rice, is averaging 9.7.
“To play a team like Boise and see their experience, discipline and habits, for our guys to see it on film and experience that, is only going to help us moving forward,” Linder said.
Here is all you need to know about tonight’s tilt in Laramie:
WHO: Boise State (10-1, 6-0) at Wyoming (7-2, 1-1)
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. MST
WHERE: Arena-Auditorium, Laramie, Wyo.
TV: CBS Sports Network
RADIO: Wyoming affiliates
TICKETS: No fans allowed
BOX SCORE: Live stats
ROSTERS: Wyoming / Boise State
VEGAS ODDS: Boise State -7.5, O/U 148.5
HISTORY: UW trails the all-time series 17-14 (Broncos swept the season series in 2020)
HEAD COACHES: Jeff Linder / Leon Rice