Aug. 4, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 2009-10 University of Wyoming men's basketball schedule was announced on Tuesday and features 19 games in the Arena-Auditorium, which will be the second most home games in school history.
On the season, the Cowboys will play nine teams that played in the postseason a year ago. Tennessee, Northern Iowa, Akron, BYU and Utah all played in the NCAA Tournament. San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV reached the NIT, while Boise State played in the CBI.
Of the 19 home games, 11 will be played against non-conference opponents. Highlighted non-conference home games include matchups with Akron and Boise State. The Cowboys will also host a Thanksgiving weekend tournament, the World Vision Challenge hosted by Basketball Travelers, Inc., with Pepperdine, Hampton and Monmouth. In all, Wyoming will play eight of its first nine games in the Arena-Auditorium.
The Mountain West Conference home schedule is highlighted by Saturday home games against BYU, San Diego State, New Mexico and TCU.
The only other seasons in which the Pokes have played 19 or more home games were 2005-06 (19 home games), 1990-91 (20 home games) and 1985-86 (20 home games).
"I think our non-conference home schedule is significantly upgraded," said Wyoming head coach Heath Schroyer. "After spending a lot of time on the road over the past two seasons, we are finally at a point where we can play at home against some quality teams. We will play four postseason teams during non-conference, three of whom played in the NCAAs."
The Cowboys' non-conference road schedule is highlighted by a trip to Knoxville, Tenn., for a game with Tennessee on Dec. 15. Last season, Tennessee won a share of the regular-season SEC Title and earned a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. UT welcomes back 11 letterwinners from that team and are ranked in the top-15 of the nation in numerous preseason polls.
The Cowboys will also play at Northern Iowa in the inaugural MWC/Missouri Valley Challenge. Last season, the Pokes beat the Panthers 74-65 in Casper, Wyo. UNI went on the win the Missouri Valley Conference and play in the NCAA Tournament.
The World Vision Challenge over the Thanksgiving holiday will feature round-robin style play with two games being played each day in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes will play Monmouth on the opening day, Hampton on Saturday and Pepperdine on Sunday. Pepperdine made their last trip to Laramie during the 2001 postseason NIT. They are coached by Tom Asbury, who was a letterwinner at UW from 1965-67 and was also an assistant coach from 1977-79.
The Cowboys open league play on Wed., Jan. 6 against arch rival Colorado State. The Pokes will play four of their first six MWC games in Laramie. During the conference slate, 15 of UW's 16 games will be televised. Of those TV games, 14 will air on The Mtn., the road game at New Mexico will be televised on CBS College Sports and UW's game at UNLV will be seen on VERSUS. The New Mexico game will either be played on Feb. 16 or 17 depending on CBS C's final television schedule.
"It will be exciting to open league play against our rival at home," added Schroyer. "After 10 seasons of MWC Basketball, I believe that the league has shown it is one of the top conferences in the nation year in and year out. I think it has always been respected regionally but now is garnering respect across the nation. Last year, six teams played in the postseason and the league ranked as the seventh best in the nation.
"The exposure our league gets through our television partners is terrific and this season is no different. Playing 15 of our league games on TV is a big thing."
Following UW's first postseason appearance since 2002-03 last year, there is a great deal of excitement about the young Cowboy lineup that will take the floor this season.
Led by the 2009 MWC Freshman of the Year Afam Muojeke, the Cowboys welcome back two starters and five lettermen. There is also a great deal of anticipation about two transfers that will become eligible--JayDee Luster and Boubacar Sylla. Luster, a point guard from San Diego, Calif., has already been selected as a team captain and Sylla, a native of Paris, France, is the tallest player in Wyoming basketball history at 7'2".
"We are a young team but I believe our talent level has increased every year," said Schroyer. "We are going to be a lot of fun to watch. It is a new era of Cowboy basketball with a new identity and we can't wait to get started."
The Cowboys will begin practice for the 2009-10 season on Fri., Oct. 16. They will open the season with an exhibition game against Regis University on Sat., Nov. 7.