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«My biggest worry was, would we get bombed by some people with six road (or neutral site) games in our first 13? And it never happened,» Shyatt said in December. «They competed, and they competed hard. We were in, if I’m not mistaken, 11 out of 13 tight games, which was healthy.»
Next came Mountain West Conference play, and once again, UW drew the short stick, being the league’s only team two start with back to back road games. The Pokes were also the lone team to hit the road for four of their first six conference contests.
The Pokes (12 13 overall, 5 7 Mountain West), fresh off an 84 65 shellacking of Utah State on Saturday, are idle until next Saturday, when they travel to Boise State.
«We were the only team in the league to start off our conference (schedule) with two games on the road. We’re getting the last bye. wholesale jerseys from china That’s a good experience for these younger guys to have,» said UW guard Josh Adams, the team’s lone senior. «Unfortunately I won’t be able to return next year, but you don’t get a much better experience than that having the last bye so you have to grind out some wins and also starting two games on the road in a tough conference.»
Generally, there are two trains of thought regarding byes: According to Shyatt, it can be a blessing or kiss of death if it interrupts a team’s rhythm.
Even though UW is coming off perhaps its most complete performance of the season, he doesn’t expect it to be of the kiss of death variety.
«I think in this case, these guys justifiably need a few days away from me, if anything,» Shyatt said, tongue in cheek.
Wyoming’s planned days off are Sunday and Tuesday, with players only responsible for getting treatment on any nagging injuries. Monday will include a full practice and a lifting session. The Cowboys will shoot and lift on Wednesday before beginning preparation Thursday for its second meeting of the year with Boise State.
«This gives our team a chance to rehab a little bit, get a little healthier, maybe put a little meat on their bones,» Shyatt said.
Finally, Wyoming has a chance to catch up to its conference mates in the rest department.
The shirts feature the No. 4 and have the name Sailors across the back in honor of the late UW basketball legend Kenny Sailors, who passed away on Jan. 30 at the age of 95.
The Cowboys’ jerseys, now outfitted with a No. 4 patch, also give a nod to Sailors.
«I talked to the team before the game, non basketball,» Shyatt said Saturday. «It was all the shirts you’re wearing. ‘You’ve got to understand the guy that you’re wearing that for.’ Nobody probably represented ADU (Aggressive, Disciplined, Unselfish) to more people in this state than Kenny Sailors, who was always aggressive in anything he pursued, who certainly had a level of discipline if you listen to his son’s eulogy, and last but not least, I never met anybody in my small, five year window that I met him that didn’t talk about him being just a gentleman. That’s extra special for this particular team. Not that they wanted to make those shirts, but now that they’ve got those shirts, hopefully they do something with them.»
Shyatt on state match
In its postgame notes, UW included a prepared quote from Shyatt regarding the future of the state’s matching funds for athletic competitiveness.
For fiscal year 2016, the state is matching every dollar raised by UW’s athletics booster organization, the Cowboy Joe Club, up to $5 million.
In light of an economic downturn, Gov. Matt Mead in December recommended the match be cut to $8 million over the upcoming biennium $4 million per year.
Last month, the state’s Joint Appropriations Committee approved the match. The next step for the legislature is finalizing a budget bill that the governor can line item veto before signing into law.
Said Shyatt: «We’ve already been cut, drastically. We had a $10 million match that we were expecting that would take care of our nutrition, travel and to make us at least competitive with the better teams in this league. And we’ve already been minus 20 percent. The discussion now is should we go from minus 20 percent, which is a pretty drastic cut, to minus forever.
«I don’t know if we could recover. I sure hope, for the future of the program (that doesn’t happen).
«I know what athletics can do at the doorstep of a university, because I saw it at Clemson and at Florida. We saw the enrollment and the enthusiasm and something good about the institution besides just learning.»BUILDING MOMENTUM: Wyoming used a big second half to rout Utah State 84 65 on Saturday. The Pokes now head into their first bye of Mountain West Conference play with some spring in their step.
HE SAID IT: «I feel like a football coach. You know, those guys always have to wait seven days and they have to eat it for seven days, which is really hard to dissolve the loss. Or they get a chance to prepare, which we will, but prepare with a win under your belt.» UW coach Larry Shyatt