NCAA Basketball Pick: Wyoming Cowboys -1 over SMU Mustangs

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, December 20, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

There is a nice under-the-radar matchup Friday night with the 8-3 Wyoming Cowboys hosting the 9-2 SMU Mustangs, and the Cowboys playing in Laramie should decide it.

The home team could have the advantage in a very nice NCAA Basketball matchup on Friday night when the SMU Mustangs (9-2, 1-1 away) pay a visit to those Wyoming Cowboys (8-3, 6-0 home) at Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, WY at 9:00 ET in a game available on ROOT Sports.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Wyoming as a scant favorite for this contest with the current line at -1 with odds of -120.

This is the last game for SMU before the beginning conference play in its first season in the fledging AAC, as it has 11 days off after this game before opening up vs. the Cincinnati Bearcats on New Year’s Day. The Mustangs come in riding a four-game winnings streak and the only two losses for SMU this season under their legendary coach Larry Brown both came to good competition in Virginia and Arkansas.

Wyoming also has a nice resume coming in at 8-3, but this game may mean a bit more to the Cowboys because a win over SMU would represent its best win thus far, as its three losses have come to the three highest ranked teams the Cowboys have faced on the Pomeroy Ratings.

It must be pointed out though that all three of those defeats were on the road, and except for an understandable 15-point loss at Ohio State where they actually covered the spread, the Cowboys were right in the other two losses, losing by only five points at Colorado and then by three points at Denver in their last game on Sunday, which are two of the most difficult venues for visiting teams in the entire country.

In other words, the Cowboys are very close to being a very good team and they will probably not be overmatched vs. a good SMU club ranked 52nd in the country overall on Pomeroy, especially playing here at home where Wyoming is 6-0 while winning by an average of +17.8 points!

The Cowboys are very well coached by Larry Shyatt as they rank 35th in the country in effective field goal percentage at 54.6 percent and are very good at adding points by getting to the foul line often, ranking 10th in the nation in FTA/FGA percentage at 57.3 percent. To add some nice balance, Wyoming is also 76th in the land in defensive efficiency, limiting opponents to a 44.4 percent effective field goal percentage.

Yes, SMU presents a nice challenge as the Mustangs are in the mix of teams that will probably finish second behind Louisville in the AAC, but first the Mustangs must prove that they can beat a good team on the road. The ‘Stangs have only played two true road games all season to this point, with one being the 89-78 loss at Virginia and the other one being a non-covering eight-point win over a bad Illinois-Chicago team ranked 274th overall on Pomeroy.

Granted the Mustangs are ninth in the country in effective field goal percentage allowed defensively while leading the nation in two-point defense, but they are only 126th in defending three-pointers and that is where Wyoming can get some separation in this game, as the Cowboys rank 41st in three-point shooting at 39.2 percent.

It may not be easy but at the end of the night, look for Wyoming to improve to 7-0 at home on Friday.

[gameodds]14/252644/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Wyoming -1 (-120)