Aug. 31, 2004
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming Cowboy Basketball fans will have an opportunity to see some of the best teams in college basketball during the upcoming 2004-05 season. This year's home schedule will feature the likes of Washington State from the Pacific-10 Conference and 2004 NCAA Tournament team Princeton both facing the Cowboys in the Arena-Auditorium. In Mountain West Conference play, Cowboy fans can look forward to an ESPN Big Monday showdown with longtime rival BYU on Monday, Jan. 17 in Laramie.
The Cowboys will also host a second ESPN Big Monday matchup with San Diego State on Feb. 21, and will host Colorado State on Saturday, Jan. 29 in an ESPN Regional television game. In addition, Big 12 Conference foe Kansas State will travel to Wyoming to play in the Wyoming Shootout in Casper, Wyo., on Saturday, Dec. 11.
Two other non-conference foes who will bring a high-caliber of basketball to Laramie will be the University of San Diego and Texas-Arlington. The San Diego Toreros visit the Double A on Tuesday, Dec. 28. They earned their way to the NCAA Tournament just two seasons ago as champions of the West Coast Conference. Texas-Arlington is coming off a 2003-04 season that saw them capture a share of the Southland Conference regular-season championship.
"I think when you look at our home schedule, we have built an outstanding schedule for our fans," said UW head coach Steve McClain. "We have some real quality teams coming in like Princeton, an NCAA Tournament team from a year ago; Washington State, one of the most improved PAC-10 teams last year; Kansas State, who is making great strides under Coach Jim Wooldridge, will play us in Casper; and San Diego, an NCAA Tournament team from two years ago.
"Our road schedule -- with games at Creighton, at Dayton, at Arizona and at Southern Illinois -- has to be one of the toughest schedules we've ever played heading into my seventh year here at Wyoming."
A total of seven of Wyoming's 2004-05 opponents earned bids to the 2004 NCAA Tournament, included in that group are non-conference foes Arizona, Dayton, Princeton and Southern Illinois. Mountain West Conference opponents Air Force, Brigham Young and Utah also advanced to last year's NCAA Tourney. Two other teams, Creighton and UNLV, earned bids to the 2004 National Invitation Tournament. That means that 13 of Wyoming's 27 regular-season games, or 48 percent of its games, will be played against teams that appeared in postseason play a year ago.
"This schedule will be a challenge, but it is one I believe our fans will find exciting," added McClain. "In addition to our game against K-State in Casper, we will once again play in Billings against Montana State. I know those games are important to our fans around the state, who aren't able to get down to Laramie for every home game.
"I wanted a tough non-conference road schedule this season. Last year, we weren't a very good road team, which was unusual for us. I thought it was important for us this season to play a difficult road schedule before we get into conference play. We need to learn how to play in tough environments on the road, and going to the places we are going to this season I think will help us compete and learn how to win on the road."
The season tips off on Tuesday, Nov. 9 when the Cowboys host Colorado School of Mines in an exhibition game. The Pokes second exhibition game will be against Colorado-Colorado Springs on Saturday, Nov. 13. That game will be a doubleheader as the Cowboy Football hosts Utah that same day. Game times for the basketball/football doubleheader that day won't be set until the Mountain West Conference television partners select football TV games for that week.