Thoughts on UW men’s basketball schedule for 2015-16

The Mountain West released its conference schedule for men’s basketball Wednesday morning, and not long after that Wyoming released its entire schedule for the upcoming season.

Here is a link to the Cowboys’ schedule: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/wyo/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/2014-15/misc_non_event/2015-16_mbb_schedule.pdf

First, some thoughts of the conference slate:

–I’m not a fan of the Cowboys playing New Mexico and Utah State once apiece. UW will play at New Mexico and gets Utah State at home. Missing a trip to Utah State isn’t the worst thing in the world as the Spectrum in Logan is one of the toughest places to play in the MW. But the league needs to keep regional rivalries in place the best it can on a home-and-home basis. Who cares if UW plays, for instance, Nevada or San Jose State once — home or away. Not getting New Mexico at home will hurt UW’s overall attendance numbers as that normally is a good draw whether the game is in the middle of the week or on a weekend. Games in Logan against Utah State are good because it gives fans in the western part of the state a chance to go see the Cowboys play.

–UW will have a tough stretch to start conference play with four of the first six on the road, including two back-to-back road games during that three-week stretch. A young team will be tested early in league play.

–I would have liked to see the Border War games with Colorado State spaced out better. The first game is in Laramie on Jan. 30, with the game in Fort Collins on Feb. 20. The last conference game of the year would be a good place for one of these games. I also would have liked to seen one sooner than Jan. 30. The good news is both will be played on Saturdays, which should mean good crowds at both the Arena-Auditorium and Moby Arena.

–The next step for the conference schedule is for the league’s national TV partners to select the games it wants. That could include some Saturday games being bumped up to Sunday. For UW’s sake, or at least when it comes to fans wanting to come to those games, let’s hope no Saturday home games are moved to Sunday. That will knock down attendance numbers considerably.

–The schedule as it was released Wednesday does not include game times and TV broadcasts. Those will be determined over the next couple of months.

–As for the non-conference schedule, to me it’s fine for the team UW has this season. Yes, there is only one marquee home game against California on Dec. 5. But getting quality teams to Laramie like that isn’t easy. In fact, coach Larry Shyatt has said time and time again that it is just about impossible. Not that Shyatt and his staff will not continue to try, but teams simply don’t want to come to Laramie, especially if UW is good. There are some good road/neutral court challenges there: at Indiana State, at New Mexico State, at Denver and the tournament in Las Vegas where UW plays Marshall and then either Houston or Grand Canyon. The non-conference part of the schedule will get this team ready for league play.

What do you think, folks? Do you like the schedule? Are there parts of it you don’t like. Let me know what you think.