Cowboy Basketball will face its first true test this weekend at the Myrtle Beach Invitational

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 4:46 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Wyoming Basketball has given a lot to be optimistic about through their first two games of the season, but now the new-look Pokes are gearing up for their first true test this year.

On Tuesday, they departed for South Carolina to play in the Myrtle Beach Invitational, and head coach Jeff Linder said the step up in competition is exactly what the team needs.

”Everybody’s good and everybody’s going in the same direction until they get punched in the mouth. We’ll see once we kind of face some adversity. When you play against a little bit more length, athleticism, some size, we’re gonna have to kind of see where we’re at. But that’s the beauty of this tournament, and I think that’s the beauty of where were at right now. You kind of need to get in there, kind of see what happens, and see how we get exposed,” Linder said. “Because now there’s film out there. Not a lot of film, but everybody’s got film on everybody else. So as I always tell our players, what you see on film the other coach knows too. So I think that’s gonna be the biggest thing is just getting more on film, and for us to just kind of continue to evolve and grow and get better.”

Their first opponent of the weekend will be Saint Louis on Thursday-- and of the eight total teams in the field-- three made it to the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Vermont and Charleston each lost in the first round, while Furman pulled off an upset over Virginia before getting knocked out in the Round of 32.

So far, the Cowboys have picked up lopsided victories over Northern New Mexico and Cal Poly. Linder feels like those contests have served as a good warmup for the challenges ahead, and knows that the players are bought in.

”We’ve got a group that we enjoy coaching. Guys that want to be in the gym, and want to get better. They’re not perfect by any means. We’ve obviously got a long long ways to go, and obviously playing in a really good league as we’ve seen by some of the early season [Mountain West] scores,” Linder said.

Wyoming’s game against the Billikens is set for a noon MT tip-off on Thursday.