It’s early in the season, but the Lobos (8-2, 1-0) and the Wyoming Cowboys (3-6, 0-1) already appear to be on different trajectories. Both schools have streaks of three going, the Lobos of course with three wins and the Cowboys suffering three losses. After a thriller in the conference opener against Boise State, there’s an expectation that the Lobos will have an easier go of things in Laramie.
Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, and history isn’t on the side of New Mexico when it comes to playing at Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys pulled off an 88-81 victory in that match last season and own an all-time record of 42-24 against the Lobos on their home court.
Given the history and the emotional swings in Wednesday’s game, there is a chance for a let down on the part of the Lobos.
JaQuan Lyle may have something to say about that, though. Coming off of his second 31 point performance of the season (18.2 ppg), Lyle is potentially positioning himself for another player of the week honor from the conference.
The Lobos are heavy favorites according to ESPN.com’s Basketball Power Index. A significant factor is the Lobos ability to take the ball off the glass. Carlton Bragg has been dominating the glass (9.5 rebounds per game) and 10th in the nation with 95 boards.
This is the Mountain West, though, and anything can happen.
Although the Cowboys suffered their third consecutive loss on Wednesday, they did manage to put up their highest point total of the season. Sophomore guard Hunter Maldonado led the way, as he has all season, with 18 points. Currently, the team leader across multiple categories, the Lobos will need to find a way to shut Maldonado down.
Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 pm (mountain) on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on AT&T SportsNet.