VIDEO: Cowboys Coaches Clinic series — scouting the opponent

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi presents the third of a season-long video series called “Cowboys Coaches Clinic” featuring aspects of the University of Wyoming men’s basketball program.

In this video, UW associate head coach Scott Duncan and assistant director of player personnel Matt Wise talk about how they go about scouting an opponent. They also give you a hypothetical scenario about how the Cowboys will go about scouting UW’s game at Utah State on Tuesday, following Saturday’s 63-62 overtime win over New Mexico in Laramie.

For more UW and high school sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, log on to wyosports.net and check back to this blog.

 

UW-New Mexico men’s hoops: 3 takes, notes, quotes and VIDEO

My three takes from Wyoming’s 63-62 overtime win over New Mexico Saturday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie:

1. Similar to last week for Nance: UW senior forward Larry Nance Jr. missed a free throw with 14.9 seconds left to play in overtime that would have tied the game. But a few seconds later, he stole the ball and ended up with the game-winning dunk with 3.2 seconds left. In UW’s 70-65 triple overtime win at Fresno State last week, Nance missed two free throws with 0.5 seconds left in the second overtime that would have won the game. “Apparantly its my thing to miss clutch free throws late when we win,” Nance said. Still, Nance finished with a team-high 23 points, and was 11 of 13 from the line. He also had six rebounds, five turnovers, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Only one of those turnovers came in the second half and overtime.

Here are late-game highlights, including Nance’s steal and dunk in the final seconds, and player interviews after the game:

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UW-New Mexico men’s basketball: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

Three keys for Wyoming in its game today against New Mexico, which tips off at 2 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

1. No 3s for Greenwood: New Mexico senior guard Hugh Greenwood shoots 30.1 percent from 3-point range. But he made six 3s in each of the Lobos’ last two road games — both wins. A lot of different New Mexico players can hurt UW today, but the Cowboys can’t let Greenwood go off from the perimeter or it could be a long afternoon.

2. Make perimeter shots: New Mexico will play 11 guys, and there is no shortage of post players it can turn to. UW needs its offense to feed off of senior forward Larry Nance Jr. inside, but the Cowboys probably won’t get New Mexico into foul trouble. The Lobos and a long and athletic squad, so to loosen things up inside, the Cowboys need to make some perimeter shots.

3. Feed off the atmosphere: UW’s largest crowd in 10 years is expected to be there today (10,000-plus). The players need to feed off that energy, especially early. They can’t be too amped up and make silly mistakes, but if they can grab some early momentum and go with it, it could be a fun afternoon at the A-A.

Here is my video preview of today’s game:

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UW-New Mexico men’s basketball Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Geoff Grammer, who covers New Mexico men’s basketball for the Albuquerque Journal, on Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 2 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @GeoffGrammer

After losing so much production from last year’s team, how is this New Mexico squad different than ones from the last few seasons?

Not only did the Lobos lose their top three scorers from last season, they lost last year’s fourth leading scorer (Cullen Neal) to a season-ending ankle injury in the third game of this

Geoff Grammer

Geoff Grammer

season. So while the team knew it was going to be a rebuilding season, though it never would use that term, it wasn’t prepared for just how bad it got early in the season. The big difference in this and past New Mexico teams is the overall athleticism and length on this roster is better than in the past. That has allowed the Lobos to use far more zone defenses than they have in many years (they’ve been predominantly man-to-man defense in the previous seven seasons on the Steve Alford/Craig Neal era). That zone defense is the reason they are still in the title race in the Mountain West. They are one of only two Division I teams remaining in the country to have not allowed 70 points in a game (though they’ve allowed 69 now in back-to-back games). This is a defense first team now that keeps them in games when their often average offense struggles.

The season-ending ankle injury to guard Cullen Neal was tough, but who has stepped up scoring-wise for this team in his absence?

The two leading scorers for the Lobos are seniors Hugh Greenwood and Deshawn Delaney, last season’s No. 5 and No. 6 scorers. Greenwood can be a great shooter when set up well by teammates, but has struggled mightily to create his own shot. With very little help on offense at times, he’s resorted to forcing a ton of shots this season, often contested and often off balance, leading to an abysmal shooting percentage. But when getting help and on his game, he’s dangerous and has already had a pair of Mountain West games with six 3-pointers. Delaney is a slasher who is good when attacking the rim and not settling for jumpers. Maybe more to the point of the question, though, is that everyone on the roster has helped in the scoring department from time to time. New Mexico uses 11 players in its regular rotation and have had multiple games this season with 11 players showing up on the scoreline of the stat sheet.

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Nance, UW feeling buzz as New Mexico game approaches

The biggest game for the Wyoming men’s basketball team this season is less than 48 hours away when the Cowboys host New Mexico at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Arena-Auditorium.

It’s the biggest game at this point because it’s the next game, but first place in the Mountain West will be on the line. UW is 16-3 overall, 5-1 in the MW and tied with San Diego State for first place. New Mexico is right behind UW and San Diego State at 13-6, 5-2.

UW is hoping for its first home crowd of 10,000 since 2005, and possibly its first sellout since 2003. As of Thursday afternoon, around 2,500 tickets remained for the game.

Larry Nance

Larry Nance

Student attendance should be good as the spring semester starts Monday. Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. said the team is “starting to feel the buzz a little bit” about this game as students begin to come back to campus.

“Every time we play New Mexico it’s a big deal,” Nance said. “It will be fun to have some students at the game. We’ve had great support with he students off campus during the break. But now that they’re back it will be a whole new atmosphere with our student section.”

UW  is promoting the game as “Fan Appreciation Day.” It will give away five iPads and two 42-inch televisions. The game is in the afternoon, the weather will be good and a quality team is coming in — at team UW has lost eight in a row to dating back to 2011.

There definitely seems to be buzz in the air. Let’s see if that buzz will be in the A-A Saturday.

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang. Log on to wyosports.net and also check back to this blog. And, join me for my weekly live chat on UW sports at 3 p.m. today. Links to the chat are on this blog and at wyosports.net.

UW sports live chat replay

Here’s the replay of WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s weekly live chat on University of Wyoming sports on Thursday, Jan. 22.

Lots of great conversation and opinions on UW men’s and women’s basketball, as well as football.

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang. Log on to wyosports.net, and check back to this blog.

Live Blog University of Wyoming sports live chat

VIDEO: Cowboys Coaches Clinic; UW senior guard Riley Grabau talks free throws

This is the second of a season-long video series on University of Wyoming men’s basketball on how it coaches and works on certain aspects of the game.

In this edition, senior guard Riley Grabau shows you what he does when getting ready to shoot free throws. Grabau leads the nation in free-throw percentage at 94.7 percent. He’s made 33 in a row, all in conference play, and his career percentage of 87.3 percent is the best in school history.

For more UW basketball and sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, log on to wyosports.net and check back to this blog.

Video by Robert Gagliardi/WyoSports.

MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings for this week, along with predictions on this week’s games.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback/opinions.

1. San Diego State  (14-4 overall, 4-1 MW): The only team to beat Wyoming in conference play, and did it in impressive fashion in Laramie. Still an offensively challenged team, but it can play defense. Watch out if the Aztecs become just an average shooting squad.

2. Wyoming (16-3, 5-1): Not far behind the Aztecs, and both teams are similar when it comes to offense and defense. The Cowboys responded well after the loss to San Diego State with their triple overtime win at Fresno State. UW is the only unbeaten team in league play on the road (3-0).

3. Colorado State (17-2, 4-2): After a loss to Wyoming Jan. 7 the Rams have won three straight, and won their last two games by a combined 77 points. A home game with San Diego State Saturday is huge.

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More minutes coming for Aka Gorski?

Some fans have asked me recently what is up with Wyoming true freshman guard Alexander Aka Gorski and why he has not played much, especially in the Cowboys’ first few conference games.

Alexander Aka Gorski

Alexander Aka Gorski

Prior to the Cowboys’ game at Fresno State last Saturday, Aka Gorski played one minute in games against UNLV and Boise State.

But at Fresno State, Aka Gorski played eight minutes and hit his first shot — a 3-pointer — in UW’s 70-65 triple overtime victory. Most of those minutes, and his 3-pointer, came in the first half.

“He’s put himself in position (to play more) because he’s in great shape now, he’s healthier now and he does make shots at practice, which reminds you there’s a need to get him on the floor,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said Monday.

Aka Gorski fractured the middle finger on his left hand during fall practice. He missed UW’s first four games, but despite wearing a large splint, did see some playing time. The splint has been off for about a month now. Continue reading

UW-Fresno State men’s hoops: 3 takes, video and interviews

Where do you start to sum up No. 25 Wyoming’s 70-65 triple overtime win at Fresno State Saturday night?

Don’t know of three takes does it justice, but here we go:

1. Big Shot Hank: Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. made a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the third overtime to seal the win for UW. It’s been Hankerson’s thing to make 3s late in the shot clock this season, and none were as big as this one. Maybe it wasn’t planned, and perhaps it was a bit lucky, but it was a huge shot. Hankerson finished with nine points, six rebounds and two assists.

Here are all the late-game highlights, including the final sequences in all three overtimes. Sorry for some of the obstructive views. And, here is Hankerson talking about his big shot.

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