Denver vs Wyoming Preview

Denver vs Wyoming Preview
(USA TODAY Sports)

Two struggling teams meet in a long-time non-conference battle as the Denver Pioneers (3-7) head to Laramie to take on the Wyoming Cowboys (3-6) on Tuesday.

The good news for Wyoming–they are coming off a solid win and have shown massive improvements on both sides of the ball.

Wyoming is coming off a 74-63 home win over South Carolina last Wednesday; they got defensive in that contest with the Gamecocks holding them to a season-low shooting percentage of 33 percent. Wyoming also held South Carolina to 64 points, also a season-low by a Cowboy opponent.

Offensively, the Pokes have hit 10-threes in each of the last two games and are shooting 48 percent from behind the arc in those contests.

Wyoming is led by senior Justin James in scoring, rebounding and assists. He ranks 12th in the nation in scoring at 24.3 points per game. He is also grabbing 10 rebounds per game and adds 8.4 of those defensively, ranking fifth in the nation. James also adds 4.2 assists per night for third in the MW.

Sophomore Hunter Maldonado adds 14.3 points per game and 7.1 rebounds.

Denver, led by Rodney Billups (brother of ex-NBA player Chauncey Billups) is 3-7 on the year after defeating Western State 93-69 on Sunday. That win snapped a four-game losing streak. During that losing streak, the Pioneers gave up 86 points per game and struggled defensively.

When they work on the defensive end, success typically follows–the Pioneers have a 32-7 (.820) record under Billups when allowing 78 or fewer points in a contest.

Denver is led in scoring by Creighton transfer, Ronnie Harrell Jr. who averages 14.4 points per game and a team-high 5.7 rebounds.

Ade Murkey adds 12 points per game and 4.8 rebounds–he is shooting 52 percent from the field. Joe Rosga adds 11.8 per night, he is shooting 43 percent from behind the three-point line.

Rosga was recognized for his great play last season, being named to the Summit League Preseason All-League First Team. The St. Paul, Minn. native averaged a career-high 16.1 points per game last year, which ranked seventh in the league. He’s also become the 35th player in program history to score at least 1,000 points in his career.

All-time series

Tuesday’s game marks the 156th meeting between the two schools in a series that dates back to 1915. The Cowboys lead the all-time series 104-51 and have posted a 64-15 record in Laramie. Wyoming has won three of the last four meetings with Denver taking the contest last season at home by a score of 88-78.

Prediction

LINE: -7.5 Wyoming

The line in this game makes sense, the Cowboys are at home and are coming off one of their most impressive wins on the season against South Carolina.

A ‘rivalry’ battle like this is typically close, but the Cowboys have enough fire power to win and cover the points.

Wyoming 79 Denver 69

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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