Cowboys must avoid outside distractions at San Jose State

A small arena where very few fans attend the games.

That sums up San Jose State’s home-court advantage in a nutshell, and what Wyoming faces when it plays there at 8 p.m. MT Wednesday.

Allen Edwards

Allen Edwards

For a minute, let’s take away what the Cowboys will face player-wise in this game. The Spartans’ home arena — The Event Center — is the smallest in the Mountain West at 5,000. Rarely is it half full. It resembles more of a high school gym than one for college basketball.

A couple of years ago when I covered a UW game there, the students were not back in school and the facilities crew didn’t have the heat turned on. It was down-right cold in there.

It’s not like playing in MW arenas like the Pit at New Mexico or Viejas Arena at San Diego State in terms of loud and abundant fans, but it presents a different challenge for many teams.

First-year UW coach Allen Edwards has seen that first-hand as an assistant for the Cowboys the previous five seasons. Wednesday’s game will be his first there as a head coach, and already knows one thing he has to be leery of.

“It’s a quiet gym, and it’s one of those games where you can’t get on (officials) becuase everyone hears you, and the (officials) take it personal when they feel like everyone hears you,” Edwards said.

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UW vs. San Jose State men’s hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Kevin McCarthy, who runs the Spartan Roundball blog that covers San Jose State men’s basketball, about Wednesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 7 p.m. MT Wednesday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy

San Jose State remains in last place in the Mountain West, but it appears significant progress is being made in the rebuilding of the program. Would you agree or disagree with that, and what has been the most significant improvements?

Progress has definitely been made. The squad can play competitively with the lower half of the conference teams but just not for a full 40 minutes. The freshman starters, Ryan Welage, Cody Schwartz and Jaycee Hillsman, along with Brandon Clarke have demonstrated Mountain West talent in flashes. Various additions to them, such as greater weight and strength, experience and the honing of current skills, along with some more players, will get the Spartans on a much more equal footing with anyone in league.

What still needs to happen for the Spartans to be a consistent competitor in the conference?

Foremost is the need for a true point guard. The team lacks a talent who can limit turnovers while running the offense,  penetrate and either score or pass the ball while also being — at very least — an average defender. Whether it is Hillsman stepping up or not, a consistent shooting scoring guard is a must. Plus, a replacement of sorts in the frontcourt for Frank Rogers is required. The youngsters must return with better bodies and improved skill sets.

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