UW-SMU pregame notes

How Wyoming plays without senior guard Luke Martinez today at SMU has to be one of the biggest questions for the Cowboys.

Martinez fractured a bone in his right hand in an “off-campus incident” according to the school and is out indefinitely. How will UW replace his 14.5 points per game and 25 steals?

It won’t be by one person, although sophomore guard Riley Grabau is expected to start for Martinez today. This will be a chance for Grabau, true freshman Josh Adams and junior-college transfer Nathan Sobey to step up.

Who else do you think needs to step up their game for the Cowboys while Martinez is out?

This will be one of the bigger, longer and more athletic backcourts UW will face this season. SMU’s three starting guards go 6-4, 6-4 and 6-7. The 6-7 guy is sophomore Jalen Jones, who averages team-bests 15.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. How UW defends him will be interesting. Jones has four double-doubles this season.

Even though UW coach Larry Shyatt and SMU coach Larry Brown have never met, both have a lot of respect for each other — and a lot in common. See Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Laramie Boomerang and www.wyosports.net for more on that.

Brown really likes what UW has done thus far against coaches he knows well.

Colorado coach Tad Boyle played for Brown at Kansas in the 1980s. UW beat then the 19th-ranked Buffs 76-69 in Laramie on Dec. 1. Brown said SMU scrimmaged Colorado in the preseason and knows that was a good win for the Cowboys.

SMU coach-in-waiting Tim Jankovich gave up his head coaching job at Illinois State to follow Brown to Dallas. UW rallied from 19 points down in the second half to win at Illinois State 81-67 on Dec. 4.

“I know how good they are. They’re pretty impressive,” Brown said.

Brown also said he is “shocked” UW is not ranked in the top 25 as one of four undefeated teams in Division I men’s basketball right now.

Jankovich and UW associate head coach Scott Duncan are good friends, and were responsible for making the 2-for-1 series between the two teams happen. After today’s game, SMU plays at UW next season and UW returns to Dallas during the 2014-15 season.

What do you think, folks? Does UW make it 13-0? What are your keys to the game for the Cowboys?

Should make for some interesting talk during the live chat at 3 p.m. Thursday. Check back to the blog and wyosports.net for the link.

2 thoughts on “UW-SMU pregame notes

  1. Grabau and Adams are too small to defend Jones unless he’s all finesse. If he’s a physical player the Cowboys should move Washington to the three and play Cooke Jr at the four when they want defense and Haldorson when they want a shooter. The other option is a zone if SMU can’t shoot outside.

    With Martinez out the Cowboys need someone besides Gilmore and Washington to step up and hit some threes. Adams has a decent shot but can’t seem to get anything to fall and Sobey has an ugly shot so I would never look to him for jumpshots. Grabau is in the same category as Adams so I would expect to see Haldorson and Nance Jr to get more attempts from outside.

  2. I have never been optimistic about the outcome of this game, even when we had Luke Martinez available. A win would really help our RPI down the road with the recent stumbles by our conference brethren at Arizona, North Carolina, and St. Louis. Tall, long, guards might be our proverbial Achilles Heel this year, especially since we do not have as much deep muscle down low as we had last year. With a good coach like Shyatt or Brown, every disadvantage should have an offsetting opportunity to exploit. Will we have enough of an advantage at the forward positions to pull their long guards out of position vs. our guards? I will be interested to see how tonight goes. We might even see someone new emerge. Players do not get D-1 offers without having stepped up in games before.

    I fear that we will miss Luke’s steals (and tipped balls) more than anything else tonight.

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