Wyoming (6-0) at UC Santa Barbara (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 28, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Thunderdome (5,600) -- Santa Barbara, California. Television: None. Home Record: Wyoming 5-0, UCSB 2-0. Away Record: Wyoming 1-0, UCSB 0-3. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0,UCSB 0-0. Conference Record: Wyoming 0-0, UCSB 0-0. Series Record: Tied 2-2.
GAMES NOTES: The Wyoming Cowboys will bring their perfect record into the Thunderdome on Wednesday night as they battle the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in a non-conference tilt.
At 6-0 Wyoming has enjoyed a great start to the campaign. The Cowboys' last victory came Saturday against CS Bakersfield (63-49). It was the fifth home game in six total outings for the Cowboys. In their only other road contest the Cowboys downed Northern Colorado (69-60) last Wednesday. Wyoming won't be on the road long as the team returns home to play Colorado this Saturday.
The Gauchos have not been so fortunate in the early going as they have managed just a 2-3 record in their first five games. On Saturday UCSB was dropped 72-56 by Boise State which came after the Gauchos won consecutive games against Master's College (80-60) and San Diego (57-39). Both of those wins came at home with all three losses occurring on the road.
The all-time series between these squads is tied 2-2. The home team has won all four games with the most recent ending in a 57-49 victory for Wyoming in 1975.
The defensive pressure from the Cowboys enabled them to move to 6-0 against CS Bakersfield. Wyoming allowed only 11 total field goals from the Roadrunners while holding them to 27.5 percent shooting overall. That was more than enough for Wyoming, which shot 45.9 percent in the contest. The Cowboys also scored 25 points off 18 turnovers and outscored the Roadrunners 14-8 on points in the paint. Leonard Washington had team-highs in points (13), rebounds (8) and assists (3) in the win.
Playing well on the defensive end of the floor has been a major reason Wyoming has yet to lose. The Cowboys are only surrendering 53.7 points per game, while foes shoot just 36.8 percent from the field. Wyoming is an average team offensively, scoring 67.5 points per game, while shooting 43.0 percent overall. Washington (15.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg) has really excelled in the paint for the Cowboys. He is a threat to post a double-double every night and can step back and hit shots from the outside as well. Larry Nance Jr. (8.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is Washington's running mate in the frontcourt, while Luke Martinez (12.7 ppg) and Derrious Gilmore (12.2 ppg) provide the punch out of the backcourt.
The Gauchos dug themselves into a hole they could not get out of against Boise State as a 7-of-19 effort on field goal attempts in the first half had UCSB down by 17 at the half. UCSB turned the ball over 16 times in the game and pulled down only 22 rebounds, 20 of which were defensive. Alan Williams scored 15 points but had only a pair of rebounds and four turnovers.
Williams' rebounding effort was particularly alarming considering how well he has played on the interior this season. The 6-foot-7 forward is scoring 14.6 points and bringing in 8.2 rebounds per game, while also protecting the rim at a high level (3.2 bpg). Taran Brown (15.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.4 apg) is the lead scorer on the team and one of only three players scoring more than seven points per game. Kyle Boswell (8.0 ppg) also fits in to that category but really needs to improve his shooting (39.5 FG percentage). As a team UCSB scores 65.6 points per game and shoots 42.9 percent from the field, while suffering from a -4.0 scoring margin.
At times Williams can really dominate on the inside but often he puts up big numbers in losing efforts. The same is likely to happen in this matchup with Wyoming's defensive abilities and better scoring options tipping the scales in the visitor's favor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 70, UC Santa Barbara 60
11/28 10:37:28 ET