Nevada vs Wyoming: Game preview, odds, how to stream, more


Cowboys vs. Wolf Pack should be an interesting matchup


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Wyoming looks to keep the winning streak alive as the Cowboys travel to the Lawlor Events Center to battle the Nevada Wolf Pack.

WHO: Nevada Wolf Pack (8-6, 2-1 in MW) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (12-2, 1-0 in MW)

WHEN: Monday, January 17, 5:00 p.m. PT

OR: Lawlor Event Center: Reno, Nevada

TV: FS1

FLUX: Get a free trial with FuboTV

Line: KenPom, Wolf Pack 1 point favorites

Wyoming is coming off a huge win over Utah State after having more than two weeks off due to COVID precautions. Nevada is also coming off a conference victory by eliminating the Air Force Falcons. The Cowboys are having a great season, losing just two games and showing they belong in the top tier of Mountain West. Nevada is struggling to keep its head above water, being beaten by 15 points against Boise State and skating by a lower-tier Air Force team.

The Cowboys have built an impressive resume so far in the season. Wyoming beat Grand Canyon University, Washington, northern Iowa, and foe Mountain West, Utah. Wyoming ranks in the top 70 in Kenpom and in the top 30 in the NCAA NET rankings. The Cowboys manage to be incredibly efficient on offense. Wyoming ranks in the top 50 in adjusted offensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage, and ranks seventh in the nation in two-point percentage with 57.9%.

The Cowboys are led by versatile goaltender Hunter Maldonado and 6’9 forward Graham Ike. Ike leads Wyoming in two points per game, averaging nearly 20 per game, and in rebounding, averaging eight per game. Maldonado has led the Cowboys for years and continues to improve each season. The 6’7 guard is averaging 17 points per game, five rebounds and five assists per game. Maldonado also shows much improved efficiency in attack. The fifth-year guard shoots over 50% from the field and 27% from beyond the arc. Xavier DuSell and Drake Jefferies are also averaging over 10 points per game and play big roles in Cowboys scoring.

Nevada has managed to find success in its guard game, relying on Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge Jr. Lately, the Wolf Pack has been able to get point contributions from their big men like Warren Washington and Will Baker when Sherfield and Cambridge Jr. struggle. The Wolf Pack is capable of scoring effectively, shooting over 50% from the field and nearly 33% from the three-point line. Nevada also knows how to involve multiple people, ranking in the top 20 in assists per game.

The wolf pack continues to rely on Grant Sherfield. When the 6’2 guard struggles, Nevada struggles. Luckily for the wolf pack, Sherfield rarely struggles. Sherfield is averaging over 19 points and six assists per game, while shooting nearly 45% from the field. Nevada is very dangerous when one of the Wolf Pack 7’0 centers comes to play. Texas transfer Will Baker has stepped up his game lately, averaging 11 points over the past five games, including two double-doubles in that span.

Keys to Wyoming

Wyoming needs to slow down the wolf pack. Nevada likes to play fast and shoot three balls in transition. The Wolf Pack ranks 27th in adjusted tempo and would like to trade hoops with the Cowboys. Wyoming also has to do what every Mountain West team continues to try to accomplish, which limits Nevada’s guard game. If the Cowboys can limit Sherfield and Cambridge Jr and pressure the Wolf Pack greats, then Wyoming can continue that impressive winning streak.

Keys to Nevada

The Wolf Pack must strengthen their defense and force Wyoming to make mistakes with the ball. The Cowboys know how to make the most of every possession, being incredibly efficient on offense. While that might be easier said than done, Nevada needs to limit the double to Ike and Maldonado. If the Wolf Pack can force the ball into the hands of a third and fourth scorer, Nevada can follow up on their offense.

Prediction

Nevada and Wyoming are two Mountain West teams that are both clicking right now. Wyoming knows its identity and can score almost every time on the field. Nevada finally finds the production of their big boys to relieve some much-needed pressure on their guards. I think Wyoming will be too much for the Wolf Pack to handle. Nevada loses at home, Cowboys take this game 79-72.


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