UW sports live chat replay

Here’s the replay from my weekly live chat on University of Wyoming sports on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Lots of good questions and dialogue from Wyoming’s season-opening 40-34 triple-overtime win over Northern Illinois last week, as well as some UW hoops news as Pine Bluffs’ Hunter Thompson committed to play for the Pokes earlier this week.

I will live chat from the UW-Nebraska football game Saturday, starting at 9:45 a.m. from Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. Links to the chat will be at wyosoprts.net and this blog.

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

Live Blog University of Wyoming sports live chat

Despite giving football a try, Conway with high praise of new UW hoops coach

Two questions came to mind when Wyoming basketball player Austin Conway decided to give football a try were:

Austin Conway

Austin Conway

Is Conway still on the basketball team after being one of five players cited for drug use by police prior to the Mountain West Tournament? All five were suspended for the rest of the season?

Was his decision based on coach Larry Shyatt stepping down and the hiring Shyatt assistant Allen Edwards?

“Not at all,” said Conway during a recent interview.

I will have more on Conway’s decision to give football a shot in Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and the story also will be posted at wyosports.net.

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UW tie to historic Texas Western win over Kentucky

This year marks the 50-year anniversary that Texas Western (now known as UTEP) defeated Kentucky 72-66 to win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

It was the first time in the history of the game that Texas Western started five black players.

Nevil Shed

Nevil Shed

Did you know one of those Texas Western players has a tie to the University of Wyoming?

Nevil Shed ended up being an assistant coach at UW in the 1970s for coach Moe Radovich. This information came from Jim Kearns, UW communications specialist. Kearns said Shed was likely one of the first, if not the first, black coaches at UW.

That game will be aired twice this week on ESPN networks, will full coverage of every basket. The first airing is at 5:30 p.m. MT on ESPN. It will re-air at 9 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2.

UW vs. Utah State hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Shawn Harrison, who covers Utah State men’s basketball for The Herald Journal in Logan, Utah, about Wednesday’s first-round game at the Mountain West Tournament with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at Noon MT at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Follow on Twitter: @hjsports

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison

How would you describe the season for Utah State with a new head coach and a pretty experienced roster returning from last season?

It has been disappointing. There were high expectations with the preseason polls and the veterans coming back. Plus, the new coach had been part of the program for so long the transition was smooth. I really believe the Aggies never fully recovered from David Collette quitting the team two days before the first game. That was a huge blow.

What has been the biggest changes under first-year coach Tim Duryea, and how do you see the program moving forward under his leadership?

Duryea has allowed the athletes to create more on their own when they push the ball. The offense is not as structured as it was under Stew Morrill. Duryea also is much more calmer, but has shown some emotion the last month and the players have said they like seeing him get fired up. As far as moving forward, there are some highly regarded recruits that have verbally committed. If they can get them signed when the time comes around, that would be a big step forward.

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UW at UNLV men’s hoops Q&A

Here is my a question-and-answer session with Mark Anderson, who covers UNLV men’s basketball for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Tip off is at 6 p.m. MT at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Follow on Twitter: @markanderson65

How is the health status of UNLV going into this game? Who is out for sure, and how are guys like freshman forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. and senior point guard Jerome Seagears?

Still not great. I expect Zimmerman to finally play. He looked good in practice on Thursday, the sprained left knee apparently not giving him trouble. But Seagears (right heel) didn’t practice. It’s iffy whether he will play.

With the recent rash of injuries which players have stepped up their game, and who, in your opinion, need to as the season concludes?

I think all the players have done a good job of coming together and trying to elevate their play. Effort hasn’t been the issue. UNLV has played well at times, but in the second half at Boise State on Tuesday, the extra minutes caught up. I would like to see Patrick McCaw become more consistent. He has moments where he looks like the Mountain West’s best player and other times where you barely notice he’s on the court, but in his defense, he’s being asked to do a lot of things out of position.

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UW vs. San Diego St. hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Mark Zeigler, who covers San Diego State men’s basketball for the San Diego Union-Tribune, about Wednesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 8 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @sdutzeigler

Mark Zeigler

Mark Zeigler

The Aztecs were picked to win the league in the preseason and they’ve shown why. Has this team played and performed like you thought? If not, what has been different?

I think they are now. They certainly weren’t in November and December, when they went 7-6 and lost three at home, including back-to-back games at Viejas Arena for the first time in 11 years. But this team was always going to take longer to coalesce because of its youth, with two freshmen starters and two sophomores in the rotation. If anything, most figured this team would be better offensively and a little worse defensively than last season. In reality, the two teams have been pretty alike — challenged on offense, nails on defense.

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Border War basketball Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Kelly Lyell, who covers Colorado State men’s basketball for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 2 p.m. MT at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Follow on Twitter: @KellyLyell

Kelly Lyell

Kelly Lyell

After the 72-59 loss at Utah State Wednesday the Rams have lost four of their last six. Are they a good indication of their record (14-12, 6-7 MW) or is his squad better than that?

They’re a good indication of their record on the season, better than half the teams they’ve played and worse than half. They’re capable of playing at a very high level at times, but not on a consistent enough basis to be a better-than-average team in the Mountain West this season.

In the loss to Utah State, Colorado State missed 18 of its last 20 3-pointers. Even though the Rams have been among the leaders in the MW in 3-point shooting this season, is this a team that lives and dies by the 3?

Very much so. The first thing the Rams do when they fall behind is try to shoot their way back into it from 3-point range. It’s worked enough times this season, too, that they keep trying that approach, even if it’s not necessarily the best way for them to get back into a game.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. The MW moved up from 12th to 11th in conference RPI. Two MW teams are ranked in top 100 in the RPI, and seven are ranked between 112 and 180.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (18-6 overall, 11-0 MW, 43 RPI): Another nice week for the Aztecs as they extended their winning streak to 11 games. It’s not always pretty offensively, but this group finds a way to get it done — especially defensively.

2. New Mexico (14-9, 7-3, 112 RPI): The Lobos split their two games last week, including an overtime loss at San Diego State which there is no shame in. They are still playing like the second-best team in the MW.

3. Boise State (16-8, 7-4, 86 RPI): The Broncos escaped with a home win over Utah State and lost at Air Force. Boise State is reeling a bit, but it stays near the top of the power rankings for now.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. Only two MW teams have RPIs in the top 100, and seven are ranked between 113 and 196. As a league, the MW still has an RPI of 12 out of 32 conferences. The Summit, Mid-American and Colonial leagues are currently ahead of the MW.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (16-6 overall, 9-0 MW, 47 RPI): An impressive week for the Aztecs with road wins over Nevada and UNLV. They have won nine in a row, and they shot less than 30 percent and still won at Nevada. If only this team was consistent on offense.

2. New Mexico (13-8, 6-2, 122 RPI): The Lobos moved into second place in the MW standings, as well to second in this week’s power rankings thanks in large part to their win at Boise State Saturday. We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs from New Mexico, but it has won four in a row.

3. Boise State (15-7, 6-3, 87 RPI): A tough week for a good team after losses at UNLV and at home to New Mexico. This didn’t do the league a lot of good, but the Broncos are still a veteran and solid group. It needs to bounce back Tuesday at home against Utah St.

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