VIDEO: Wyoming men’s basketball team

From left to right, Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt, forward Larry Nance Jr., point guard Derrious Gilmore and forward Leonard Washington talk about the Cowboys’ 85-81 win over Nevada in the play-in game at the Mountain West Tournament on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

UW-Nevada prediction

They say it is hard to beat at team three times in one season.

At least if you are Wyoming, you beat Nevada twice so you know you can do it. That has to mean something for a team that has lost five straight games and 12 of the last 18 after a 13-0 start.

The Cowboys (18-12 overall, 4-12 Mountain West) play Nevada (12-18, 3-13) in the play-in game (or what the league is calling the first round) of the MW Tournament at 6 p.m. today at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

It won’t be easy for the Cowboys to win their third straight over the Wolf Pack. There are two keys: Defense and Leonard Washington.

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UW-Nevada Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chris Murray, who covers Nevada men’s basketball for the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Eight-seeded Wyoming (18-12 overall, 4-12 Mountain West) plays ninth-seeded Nevada (12-18, 3-13) at 6 p.m. today in the play-in game at the Mountain West Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Question: How is the Wolf Pack in terms of its physical and mental states heading into the play-in game with Wyoming?

Answer: The Wolf Pack had a lull late in the year when it looked like it had given up on the season. That period included a 20-point loss at Wyoming and a 26-point loss at Boise State. The team is playing with much more vigor of late, but it has still dropped its past five games by double-digits. In recent seasons, the Wolf Pack’s energy has taken a nice step forward in conference tournament play, which is to be expected, and I think the same thing will happen this week. As far as injuries are concerned, starting wing play Jerry Evans Jr. (shooting wrist) missed the last game and is questionable, but I expect him to play.

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All-MW men’s basketball team announced

Here is the link for the 2012-13 All-Mountain West men’s basketball team.

http://www.themwc.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/031113aah.html

The team was selected by the coaches and selected media, and I was one of those selected to vote.

My first team was the same as the coaches and other media members. I also picked New Mexico junior guard Kendall Williams as the Player of the Year, New Mexico’s Steve Alford as the Coach of the Year, UNLV forward Anthony Bennett as Freshman of the Year and Colorado State’s Colton Iverson as the Newcomer of the Year.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi ranks the nine Mountain West men’s basketball teams. Included are their records and Rating Percentage Index according to RealTimeRPI.com, and rankings are from The Associated Press poll. Look for these rankings every week during the conference season.

Let him know what you think about these rankings — good or bad.

1. No. 14 New Mexico (23-4 overall, 10-2 MW, 3 RPI): The Lobos did what nobody else has been able to do — win at Colorado State. The 91-82 win last Saturday not only snapped the Rams’ 27-game home winning streak, but it gave New Mexico at two-game lead in the conference standings with four to play. Junior guard Kendall Williams vaulted himself into a Player of the Year candidate in the league (if he wasn’t already) with 46 points.

2. UNLV (21-7 overall, 8-5 MW, 14 RPI): The Rebels may be hitting their stride down the stretch, and are tied with New Mexico for the longest winning streak in the conference at three. A 61-59 home win over Colorado State last week was impressive. The Rebels still have the most talented roster in the league. They won just their second conference road game last week at Wyoming. To stay this high in the rankings, they can’t lose at Nevada Saturday.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi ranks the nine Mountain West men’s basketball teams. Included are their records and Rating Percentage Index according to RealTimeRPI.com, and rankings are from The Associated Press poll. Look for these rankings every week during the conference season.

Let him know what you think about these rankings — good or bad.

1. New Mexico (20-4 overall, 7-2 MW, 3 RPI): The first-place team in the conference by a half game, and the highest ranked team at No. 19 despite a loss at UNLV last Saturday.  Despite some teams on the Lobos heels right now, this is still the best and most consistent team in the league.

2. Colorado State (19-4 overall, 6-2 MW, 15 RPI): The Rams are No. 24 in the polls , but this is a big week for them. They put their 26-game home winning streak on the line tonight against San Diego State, and then travel to Air Force Saturday. And, the Rams still get New Mexico at home. A conference title is still very much within reach.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi ranks the nine Mountain West men’s basketball teams. Included are their records and Rating Percentage Index according to RealTimeRPI.com, and rankings are from The Associated Press poll. Look for these rankings every week during the conference season.

Let him know what you think about these rankings — good or bad.

1. No. 20 New Mexico (17-3 overall, 4-1 MW, 7 RPI): The conference race got interesting again after the Lobos went 1-1 last week with a home win over Colorado State and a 55-34 loss at San Diego State. The loss to San Diego State wasn’t surprising, but scoring 34 points was. That is the lowest for New Mexico in the shot clock era. New Mexico beat ranked teams at the time following its previous two losses. It should get better this week with games at Wyoming and at home against Nevada.

2. No. 22 San Diego State (16-4 overall, 4-2 MW, 29 RPI): The Aztecs moved up by being the only team to win both games in league play last week, and they did it in impressive fashion. San Diego State is the most versatile team in the conference. Why? Six-foot-7 sophomore forward J.J. O’Brien started at point guard in both games last week, and earned MW Player of the Week honors. The team’s 0-2 mark the week before last is a distant memory.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi ranks the nine Mountain West men’s basketball teams. Included are their records and Rating Percentage Index according to RealTimeRPI.com, and rankings are from The Associated Press poll. Look for these rankings every week during the conference season.

Let him know what you think about these rankings — good or bad.

1. No. 15 New Mexico (16-2 overall, 3-0 MW, 8 RPI): The only undefeated team in league play after two weeks, and the only team in the AP poll. The Lobos also have the conference’s longest winning streak at three, which says a lot about how tough all the teams are. Faces a big home game tonight against Colorado State where both teams are equally as good in the backcourt and frontcourt.

2. Colorado State (15-3, 2-1, 17 RPI): An overtime loss at San Diego State is the only conference loss. This is the most veteran team in the league, and perhaps the most physical. Senior and first-year center Colton Iverson and senior forward Pierce Hornung combine to average 19.1 rebounds per game, and the Rams are the conference’s best rebounding team. CSU needs a signature road win in league play, and tonight it gets a shot at New Mexico.

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MW men’s basketball power ratings

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi ranks the nine Mountain West men’s basketball teams. Included are their records and Rating Percentage Index according to RealTimeRPI.com, and rankings are from The Associated Press poll. Look for these rankings every Tuesday during the conference season.

Let him know what you think about these first rankings heading into league play.

1. No. 15 San Diego State (14-2 overall, 2-0 MW, 29 RPI); The highest ranked team in the conference that won its first two league games despite guard Xavier Thames’ back troubles. The Aztecs won both of their games by a combined 10 points, but as stated last week, they remain the most complete team in the MW.

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UW-Nevada pregame notes

Twenty years ago, Larry Shyatt said he would have been upset — and everybody would have known it.

But at 61, Shyatt was disappointed his Wyoming men’s basketball team lost its first game of the season, 63-61 at home to Boise State Wednesday on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by junior guard Jeff Elorriaga.

He just kept his emotions in check.

“In my 40s I would have been throwing chairs, screaming, yelling and cussing,” he said. “But it is hard for me to do that when I know our team was connected. They were doing all the right things, other than (Boise State) had the ball in the final seconds.”

The Cowboys try to avoid an 0-2 Mountain West start at 4 p.m. today at Nevada (9-6, 0-1) in the Wolf Pack’s first-ever home game as a MW member.

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