Here is my question-and-answer session with Brent Briggeman, who covers Air Force men’s basketball for The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colorado, about Tuesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.
Tip off is at 7 p.m. MT at Clune Arena at the Air Force Academy.
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What’s gone wrong for the Falcons now at 10-12 overall, 1-8 in the conference and losers of eight straight games?
What hasn’t gone wrong, that would be a better question. First, the team hasn’t been able to complete athletically in the league. Nevada and UNLV simply overwhelmed them
physically. Fresno State clogged passing lanes with its length, forcing 17 turnovers and turning that into a 28-6 advantage in points off turnovers. Wyoming, New Mexico and San Jose State shot well. It’s been something different every game, though a consistent theme has been the Falcons’ shooting woes. Beyond that, Air Force has been playing with an injured point guard in Trevor Lyons (shooting hand).
Has this recent spiral surprised you, and are there signs or hopes that it will end?
I don’t think it has been stunning. Air Force started the season 10-4, but other than an overtime victory over New Mexico State, the wins weren’t against Mountain West-caliber teams. When it played up against Ohio State, Colorado the results were lopsided. It was obviously going to be a season where a lot of things had to go right, and they haven’t. As for signs of a turnaround for this season, I’m not sure they’re there.
What have been some of the positives, if there are any, that have resulted during the losing skid in terms of other guys stepping up, etc.?
Freshman guard Pervis Louder and sophomore center Frank Toohey have seen their roles grow exponentially over the past month and provide hope for the future. This is still a young team overall, with only one senior, so there’s every reason for this team to stay the course try to build some kind of momentum that will not only help down the stretch this season, but carry over into next.
What did you take from the first game with Wyoming on Jan. 6 that you may be watching for during Tuesday’s game?
Air Force actually did a solid job of containing Josh Adams (who still had 20 points and 11 rebounds, but made just 1 of 7 from 3-point range), but Wyoming hit 11 3-pointers and kept putting together extended runs. Those three items will again be key – Can Air Force prevent Adams from going off, can it defend the 3-point line and can it find a way to keep momentum from getting away for long stretches?
How do you see Tuesday’s game unfolding?
It will be very interesting. Air Force is in full-on desperation mode in hopes of ending this eight-game streak, and this may be their best shot at doing so. I expect an aggressive effort from the Falcons. But if Wyoming can shoot well early and open a lead, Air Force may be at a point mentally where it doesn’t trust it has a comeback in it.
Cowboys game day
Game: Wyoming (11-12 overall, 4-6 Mountain West) at Air Force (10-12, 1-8)
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Clune Arena, Air Force Academy, Colorado
Radio: KFBC (1240 AM) Cheyenne; KCGY (96.1 FM) Laramie