This is a non-conference battle between the still underrated Mountain West Conference and the AAC, whose representative, UConn, won the National Championship last year. Though SMU is again expected to contend for AAC superiority, underrated Wyoming is given little chance to track down San Diego St. in the Mountain West.
Wyoming at SMU (-5) 7:00 ET ESPN News
This is a non-conference battle between the still underrated Mountain West Conference and the AAC, whose representative, UConn, won the National Championship last year. Though SMU is again expected to contend for AAC superiority, underrated Wyoming is given little chance to track down San Diego St. in the Mountain West. Yet, if the first month of play is any indication, the Cowboys may actually be the better team in tonight’s action.
SMU was projected to be a Top 20 team with 3 RS from a 27-10 team, who lost in the NIT Championship final. In his 3rd year, veteran HC Brown has assembled a team with superior talent and depth. But, the early season loss of Markus Kennedy (continuing ineligibility) has left this team with a void on their interior line. The result is a disappointing 4-3 SU, 0-5 ATS on our NCAA basketball odds start in which they failed to the number by a combined 35 points. Must respect the home court of refurbished Moody Coliseum! On combined home floors last year, the Mustangs went 17-1 SU which, combined with their 4-1 SU start at home this season, makes the run 21-2 SU. Yet, each time the Ponies have stepped up this season, they have gotten smacked down. There has been a 72-56 loss at Gonzaga, a 74-68 loss at Indiana and in the final ignominy a 78-72 home court setback to a poor traveling Arkansas team. Brown seems to be little concerned with the understanding that his play in the AAC will speak volumes about his post-season chances.
For Wyoming, under current 5th year HC Shyatt, it continues to be another over achieving season. In the 3 previous years, Wyoming has won 59 games. That includes an 18-5 SU mark last season, good enough for a CBI invite. This year, the Cowboys are off to a 7-0 SU start. Admittedly, all the games have been on their home court. But, a 56-33 rout of highly regarded Colorado is a positive indicator. As is their most recent victory, a 68-42 rout of Denver, a team expected to win the Summit Conference. So what’s up with these Cowboys? For starters, it is the return to health of one of the best players in the nation, Larry Nance Jr., who blew out his right knee last February. The Cowboys were just 1-6 SU down the stretch in his absence. Now healthy, he teams with one of the best backcourts in the Mountain West led by Grabau and Adams. Along with Cooke on the interior, this 3rd year starter teams with Nance for a powerful duo on the inside.
At this point of the season, Wyoming is clearly the better team, so add them to your NCAA basketball picks. Though it is their first road game, the Cowboys have had continued success in the early going under Shyatt. The Cowboys are now 25-13 ATS in non-conference play since the return of Shyatt to the sidelines. But, the real reason for the play on Wyoming is their outstanding defense which has allowed just 50 PPG in their 7-0 SU start. Play the better team as defensive dog with the generous price.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Wyoming at 5Dimes