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Ranking the Mountain West’s Non-Conference Schedules for 2018-19

Fresh off March’s Sweet Sixteen run, big things are expected of Nevada in 2019. But how did the Wolf Pack do when building this season’s non-conference schedule? And what about the rest of the Mountain West?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Cincinnati Bearcats vs Nevada Wolf Pack Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2018-19 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Warning: Graphics and tables may not appear optimally when viewing on a mobile device.

Ranking The Teams

San Diego State’s win over Nevada in the 2018 Mountain West Tournament semifinals all but assured the conference would earn two NCAA bids for the first time since 2015. However, last season’s performance was a far cry from the nine bids the Mountain West racked up between the 2012 and 2013 NCAAs.

The conference rose to eighth in the four-year ranking heading into this season, though the Atlantic 10’s poor performance in 2017-18 is more responsible for that than anything the Mountain West did. But that’s not to say the conference didn’t improve a bit. Sure, San Diego State fell out of the top 50, but thanks to an 11-spot jump by UNLV, nine of the league’s 11 teams now rank in the top 150—with Air Force and San Jose State the exceptions. Plus, Nevada’s strong performance last season saw its position improve by 51 places alone. With the Wolf Pack projected as a top 10 team heading into 2018-19, they help lift the Mountain West to higher elevations all on their own.

Four-Year Rankings

Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
San Diego State 6.3889485 54 50
Nevada 5.5131505 61 112
Boise State 5.146498 66 77
Fresno State 3.463093 88 116
New Mexico 2.4679955 106 105
Wyoming 1.5124685 129 131
Utah State 1.3927895 133 125
UNLV 1.0251755 143 154
Colorado State 0.9121065 146 92
Air Force -2.8877245 231 234
San Jose State -5.026973 292 287
Average 1.809775273 131.7272727 134.8181818
Conference Rank 8th of 32 (9th in 2017-18)

KenPom Gaps for 2018-19

Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
31 Nevada 61 6 55
102 Air Force 231 212 19
180 UNLV 143 146 -3
218 San Diego State 54 65 -11
224 New Mexico 106 120 -14
233 Wyoming 129 145 -16
251 Fresno State 88 110 -22
274 Colorado State 146 173 -27
290 San Jose State 292 325 -33
297 Utah State 133 170 -37
310 Boise State 66 111 -45

Nevada is a preseason top 10 team—both in the polls and KenPom’s projections. In the latter’s case, that means the Wolf Pack are expected to outperform their four-year ranking by a considerable margin. But only Nevada and struggling Air Force are projected to improve upon their recent performances in 2018-19, as KenPom projects the Mountain West’s other nine teams, including 2018 tournament winner San Diego State, to see a decline in their fortunes relative to the past four seasons.

Ranking The Schedules

Last season, the Mountain West’s scheduling averages ranked among the bottom third nationally, thanks to the fact that three teams had slates that ranked among the nation’s bottom 50. This season, however, no team owns a schedule that bad. But with only Nevada’s non-conference slate ranking among the top 100 and only four conference members finding themselves in the top half of Division I (with Boise State and UNLV just missing), the Mountain West’s gains are limited to a rise to the middle of the Division I ranks.

Note: The number of asterisks (*) represent the number of pending games on a team’s schedule.

Schedule Rankings

Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
52 Nevada* 4.544803481 39 4.218623482 57 4.272984444 69 4.16426252 43
148 San Diego State** 0.5966985909 252 2.418810654 143 3.160439962 124 1.567281423 183
166 Fresno State** 1.342212265 200 2.16626851 161 3.172240846 123 1.070670627 212
172 Utah State* 1.563638897 187 1.977947582 174 1.990590482 182 1.965304682 152
177 Boise State** 1.311536103 204 2.032366144 170 2.579582991 157 1.424377144 196
180 UNLV** 1.554087556 189 1.997827136 171 2.731882213 148 0.9809161379 216
202 New Mexico 1.560592535 188 1.560592535 202 1.560592535 211 1.560592535 184
221 Colorado State** 1.064577045 213 1.190629636 219 1.518576096 212 0.8796202952 231
233 Air Force 0.9185270875 229 0.9185270875 232 0.9185270875 240 0.9185270875 224
252 San Jose State 0.6411078979 248 0.6411078979 252 0.6411078979 262 0.6411078979 246
258 Wyoming* 0.3663449773 263 0.4782635894 264 0.6828182692 259 0.5710904577 252
187.3636364 Average 1.405829676 201.0909091 1.781905841 185.9090909 2.111758439 180.6363636 1.431250073 194.4545455
16/32 Conference Rank 22 of 32 15 of 32 15 of 32 19 of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

Only Nevada and San Jose State over-scheduled this season, and in the case of the Wolf Pack, they probably wish they had been able to put a few more points between their non-conference strength of schedule and four-year ranking—for March purposes. San Diego State and New Mexico are the two biggest disappointments on this list, though the Aztecs could pick up some useful games in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Boise State and Wyoming also under-did things this season, which could cause both trouble if they find themselves in contention during league play.

Scheduling Gaps

National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
3 Air Force 231 232 -1
28 Nevada 61 52 9
90 UNLV 143 179 -36
95 Utah State 133 171 -38
105 San Jose State 292 251 41
170 Colorado State 146 220 -74
182 Fresno State 88 166 -78
213 San Diego State 54 148 -94
217 New Mexico 106 201 -95
239 Boise State 66 176 -110
265 Wyoming 129 257 -128
146.0909091 Average (8/32 conf.) 131.7272727 186.6363636 -54.90909091

Home, Power 7 Road, and Non-D1 Games

True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
75 7 12 9

The Mountain West saw its totals in each of these categories remain largely steady when compared to last year—with a nearly insignificant increase of one true home game, a more significant rise of two in the Power 7 home game category, an increase of one Power 7 road game, and a drop of two in the non-D1 home game category.

Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
WCC 16 1
Pac-12 13 4
MVC 10 4
Big West 10 2
Big Sky 10 0
OVC 10 0
WAC 9 1
Non-D1 9 0
SWAC 9 0
Summit 5 1
American Athletic 3 1
Big Ten 3 1
Sun Belt 3 1
C-USA 2 3
SEC 2 3
ACC 2 2
MAC 2 2
America East 2 0
Ivy 2 0
MAAC 2 0
Southland 2 0
Big 12 1 2
Big East 1 2
MEAC 1 1
Patriot 1 1
Big South 1 0
Horizon 1 0
SoCon 1 0
A 10 0 5
Atlantic Sun 0 1
CAA 0 0
NEC 0 0

Thanks to its move to 20 conference games, the Big Sky has been displaced at the top of this table by the WCC. While the latter conference’s total remained steady with 16 non-league games against Mountain West opponents, the former’s number tumbled from 17 to 10. The “Non-D1” group dropped out of the top five, replaced by the Big West. Naturally, the Pac-12 is most popular power conference for Mountain West teams to schedule, with the other six not combining for anything close to its total of 13.

Four conferences are completely missing from Mountain West schedules, including the Atlantic 10, though the two leagues could meet five times in the latter stages of exempt tournaments. The eighth and ninth-ranked conferences in the four-year rankings could meet more frequently in the future, however, as the two are reportedly discussing a challenge series that would start next season. That event would replace the Missouri Valley/Mountain West Challenge that ends this season.

Pacific will play five separate Mountain West foes, while the Tigers’ WCC rivals from BYU appear four times. Nevada will help its at-large case by playing three Pac-12 squads alone. None of the other teams that scheduled a trio of teams from other conferences—San Jose State (Big Sky), San Diego State (SWAC), and UNLV (WCC)—did quite so well.

Non-Conference Games By Quad

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Quad 1 2 9 4 15 1.363636364 10
Quad 2 6 10 6 22 2 10
Quad 3 12 8 7 27 2.454545455 15
Quad 4 47 2 2 51 4.636363636 3
Non-D1 8 0 1 9 0.8181818182 0
Total 75 29 20 124
Average 6.818181818 2.636363636 1.818181818 11.27272727
Percentage 0.6048387097 0.2338709677 0.1612903226
Q1 1-30 1-75 1-50
Q2 31-75 76-135 51-100
Q3 76-160 136-240 101-200
Q4 161-353 241-353 201-353

Mountain West teams will play nearly as many top 100 opponents at home (13) as on the road (14), though San Diego State’s Maui Jim Maui Invitational quarterfinal against Duke is the only set top 10 game on the league’s collective non-conference slate. (The Aztecs could meet Gonzaga on day three, if the two’s results match up.) Despite the presence of eight Quad 1 and 2 home games, Mountain West home schedules suffer because of the 55 contests scheduled against teams that either fall under Quad 4 or outside of Division I entirely. Just five such games are scheduled for road or neutral locations.

Team-By-Team Breakdown

Teams are listed in order of their Super Average Schedule Ranking. The number in front of an opponent name is its Four-Year Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.

52. Nevada Wolf Pack

*Exempt Event: Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Invitational

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (3)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (3)
58. BYU 97. Tulsa* 140. Grand Canyon $ 82. Loyola Chicago
202. Pacific 150. Southern Illinois or $ - Talking Stick Resort Arena 52. USC
222. Little Rock* 175. UMass* 36. Utah
(Transitional) Cal Baptist* 70. Arizona State # ^ - MVC Challenge
94. South Dakota State # - Los Angeles
157. Akron

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (@Pacific, Southern Illinois (N)) and 1 loss (Loyola Chicago (N))

Not surprisingly, Eric Musselman’s Wolf Pack had some trouble building a schedule truly worthy of a team projected to be in the top 5 or 10 nationally following last season’s march to the Sweet Sixteen. But this is still a challenging slate, thanks to a visit from former Mountain West member BYU, a trio of games against Pac-12 opponents (Arizona State in L.A. and USC and Utah on the road), along with the highly-anticipated rematch with Loyola Chicago at Gentile Arena in the Missouri Valley Challenge. While this slate should prepare Nevada more than adequately for an improved Mountain West, I am a little concerned it could limit the Pack’s seeding when March arrives.

148. San Diego State Aztecs

*Exempt Event: Maui Jim Maui Invitational

True Home Games (8) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (2)
True Home Games (8) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (2)
344. Arkansas Pine Bluff 4. Duke* 87. Illinois State^
224. Texas Southern 18. Xavier or 101. California
330. Jackson State 64. Auburn* ^ - MVC Challenge
186. San Diego 3. Gonzaga/
(Non-D1) Cal State Dominguez Hills 13. Arizona/
58. BYU 33. Iowa State/
282. Brown 81. Illinois*
303. Cal State Northridge

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (@San Diego, Gonzaga) and 1 loss (California)

Brian Dutcher got the Aztecs back to the NCAA Tournament in his first season, but this schedule means SDSU might have to repeat as Mountain West Tournament champs to earn a return trip. Facing Duke and then either Xavier or Auburn could push San Diego State into an unfavorable day three matchup at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. And barring a surprising performance in Lahaina, there’s not much else on this slate beyond the visit from BYU and Missouri Valley Challenge matchup with contender Illinois State. That means the Aztecs could have to make a strong run through an improved Mountain West to remain in the bid picture during the season’s closing stages.

166. Fresno State Bulldogs

*Exempt Event: Wooden Legacy

True Home Games (8) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (8) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (1)
(Non-D1) Alaska Anchorage 63. Northwestern* 45. TCU
202. Pacific 23. Miami (Fla.) or
295. Cal Poly 166. La Salle*
163. Weber State 36. Utah/
173. Long Beach State 37. Seton Hall/
101. California 140. Grand Canyon/
254. UT Martin 179. Hawai'i*
174. Utah Valley

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Weber State, @Long Beach State, @Cal Poly) and 0 losses

With the Bulldogs headed to Fullerton for the Wooden Legacy, Justin Hutson’s first Fresno State squad will only leave the Golden State once before Mountain West play tips off—to play TCU on November 15th. And that type of schedule should help the former San Diego State assistant build on what Rodney Terry had going before his departure for UTEP. A season ago, Fresno State went 10-3 in non-conference play, with two of those losses coming to Power 7 foes Arkansas and Oregon. This season’s Bulldog squad will host California, projected to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12, and face Northwestern, likely a second division squad in the Big Ten, in the quarterfinals in Orange County.

172. Utah State Aggies

*Exempt Event: MGM Resorts Main Event

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (4)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (4)
302. Hartford* 19. Saint Mary's* 274. Montana State
349. Mississippi Valley State 70. Arizona State or 119. UC Irvine
174. Utah Valley* 73. Mississippi State* 58. BYU
99. UNI^ 163. Weber State # 41. Houston
337. Alabama State # - Salt Lake City
(Non-D1) Eastern Oregon
^ - MVC Challenge

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Montana State, Mississippi Valley State, UC Irvine) and 2 losses (@Weber State, BYU)

Craig Smith, last seen taking South Dakota to 48 wins over two seasons, replaces Tim Duryea after a 17-17 campaign. The Aggies were rather average during non-conference play a season ago, winning seven of 13, highlighted by victories over Northeastern and New Hampshire in the Phil Knight Invitational’s subregional in Nashville. It will be difficult for Utah State to improve on 2017’s performance, thanks to a slightly tougher slate, which will not only see the Aggies travel to BYU and Houston but also serve as a host school for the MGM Resorts Main Event in Las Vegas. There, a second night showdown against either Arizona State or Mississippi State, a pair of possible NCAA at-large squads, awaits no matter the result of State’s semifinal against Saint Mary’s.

177. Boise State Broncos

*Exempt Event: Cayman Islands Classic

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (4)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (4)
299. Idaho State 28. Creighton* 219. Drake^
330. Jackson State* 74. St. Bonaventure or 140. Grand Canyon
(Non-D1) Central Washington 110. Georgia State* 25. Oregon
337. Alabama State 29. Clemson/ 208. Loyola Marymount
202. Pacific 157. Akron/ ^ - MVC Challenge
25. Oregon 57. Georgia/
87. Illinois State*

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (Illinois State (N), Loyola Marymount, @Oregon, Grand Canyon) and 0 losses

A Mountain West Tournament quarterfinal loss to Utah State ended the Broncos’ NCAA hopes, as Leon Rice’s team ended up in the NIT despite 23 wins, including victories over Loyola Chicago and at Oregon. The road to an at-large will be a bit more difficult for Boise State this season, even with the presence of a puzzling home-and-home series with the Ducks and the Broncos’ participation in what should be an excellent Cayman Islands Classic. That’s because of a home schedule that won’t provide much of a challenge beyond the visit from the Ducks and the unhelpful assignment of Drake in the Missouri Valley Challenge. Boise State will likely need to win a couple of quality games in the Caymans, nick a win from an Oregon squad that’s likely to be among the Pac-12’s best, and get some quality wins in an improved Mountain West to be a factor come Selection Sunday.

180. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

*Exempt Event: Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (2)
True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (2)
208. Loyola Marymount 58. BYU $ 76. Colorado or 81. Illinois
281. UC Riverside $ - T-Mobile Arena 164. Indiana State* 179. Hawai'i*
131. Oakland 45. TCU/
202. Pacific 48. Rhode Island/
323. Southern Utah 108. Bucknell/
90. Valparaiso^ 266. Charlotte*
11. Cincinnati
^ - MVC Challenge

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Southern Utah, Illinois (N), @Pacific) and 0 losses

Marvin Menzies’ second season in charge at the Thomas & Mack resulted in 20 victories—a nine-win improvement over season one for the former New Mexico State man. A full 11 of those victories were the result of a rather soft non-conference slate, a charge that could be leveled against this one. However, a visit from Cincinnati, a trio of games in the Diamond Head Classic (starting with a tricky quarterfinal against host Hawai’i) and T-Mobile Arena showdown with BYU mean the Runnin’ Rebels will have a few more chances to pick up some quality non-league wins than they did a year ago.

202. New Mexico Lobos

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (3)
True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (3)
112. Iona (Non-D1) U. of the Southwest ! 19. Saint Mary's # 303. Cal State Northridge
71. New Mexico State ! - Hobbs, N.M. # - Los Angeles 205. Bradley^
209. UTEP 71. New Mexico State
76. Colorado ^ - MVC Challenge
301. Central Arkansas
271. North Texas
178. Penn

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 0 wins and 4 losses (@New Mexico State, @UTEP, @Colorado, New Mexico State)

Even though the Lobos are not participating in an exempt event this season, as the round-robin that was supposed to surround New Mexico’s game against Saint Mary’s in Los Angeles fell though, Paul Weir’s squad will play 12 non-conference games, not 11. That’s because the NCAA approved a waiver for the December 30th game scheduled against NAIA Southwest at Hobbs High School, to honor the school’s legendary head coach, Ralph Tasker. Otherwise, Weir’s second squad—pegged as an at-large contender—has built a fairly challenging schedule, highlighted by that game against the Gaels, the traditional home-and-home with archrival New Mexico State and home matchups against Colorado, MAAC contender Iona, C-USA threat North Texas, and defending Ivy champ Penn.

221. Colorado State Rams

*Exempt Event: Gulf Coast Showcase

True Home Games (8) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (2)
True Home Games (8) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (2)
(Non-D1) Colorado Christian* 96. Louisiana* 138. FGCU 76. Colorado
344. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 114. Toledo (or Toledo)* 173. Long Beach State
274. Montana State (or FGCU)*
150. Southern Illinois^ 94. South Dakota State/
40. Arkansas 119. UC Irvine/
204. Sam Houston State 194. Tulane/
124. South Dakota 245. UTSA*
71. New Mexico State
^ - MVC Challenge

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Colorado, Long Beach State) and 3 losses (Tulane (N), @New Mexico State, @Arkansas)

After spending one season at Drake—improving the Bulldogs’ win total by 10—Niko Medved relocated to Fort Collins to take over a program reeling from an 11-win campaign that saw Larry Eustachy forced out due to a misconduct investigation. Seven of the Rams’ 11 wins last season came during non-conference play, with a 72-63 victory over Colorado the highlight. Another Power 7 team will visit Moby Arena, the Arkansas squad that hammered CSU by 26 in Fayetteville a season ago. Beyond that matchup, the other highlight of Medved’s first Ram slate is a trip to Southwest Florida for the Gulf Coast Showcase, though a quarterfinal against Sun Belt power Louisiana will likely knock Colorado State down to a consolation bracket full of body clock-unfriendly early starts.

233. Air Force Falcons

*Exempt Event: Bimini Jam

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (3)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (3)
(Non-D1) Johnson & Wales (Colo.) 257. UMBC* 203. Texas State
76. Colorado 221. High Point* 202. Pacific
160. Missouri State^ 124. South Dakota* 17. Michigan
196. Denver
265. Army West Point
281. UC Riverside
^ - MVC Challenge

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Texas State, @Denver, Johnson & Wales (Colo.) and 4 losses (Pacific, @Colorado, @UC Riverside, Army West Point (N))

Since winning 18 games in 2012-13, Dave Piliopvich’s Falcons have either won 12 or 14 games in the subsequent five seasons—with the last two seasons ending with the lower of those two totals. Air Force broke even in non-conference play a season ago, with all six wins coming in either Colorado Springs or Denver. If the Falcons sweep their home games, including a visit from Colorado of the Pac-12, they’ll be set to head into Mountain West play at 6-6 again. To improve upon that projected record, they’ll need to win a game or two at the Bimini Jam, where NCAA Tournament darling UMBC and South Dakota are the most difficult opposition that awaits, or win one of their three true road games, though a victory at Michigan is highly unlikely.

221. San Jose State Spartans

*Exempt Event: Junkanoo Jam

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (3)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (3)
(Non-D1) Life Pacific 163. Weber State* 79. Stanford
323. Southern Utah 168. Cal State Bakersfield* 101. California
216. Santa Clara 171. Central Michigan* 19. Saint Mary's
164. Indiana State^
328. Bethune-Cookman
329. Northern Arizona
^ - MVC Challenge

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (@Santa Clara) and 2 losses (@Southern Utah, @Saint Mary’s)

Dave Wojcik departed San Jose after a 14-win season in 2016-17, with the Spartans poised to finally, perhaps, maybe achieve a level of respectability. Under Jean Prioleau, a late hire in the 2017-18 offseason, the Spartans struggled mightily, winning just four games overall, and three in non-league play. Even with six home games, SJSU will be hard pressed to improve upon that trio of victories, as three games in the home gyms of the Bay Area’s basketball powers and another three in the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam mean the Spartans will yet again struggle mightily during November and December.

258. Wyoming Cowboys

*Exempt Event: Fort Myers Tip-Off

True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (3-4) True Road Games (2-3)
True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (3-4) True Road Games (2-3)
181. UC Santa Barbara 121. Boston College* 125. Oregon State
336. Grambling State* 82. Loyola Chicago or 122. Evansville^
267. Niagara* 113. Richmond* 209. UTEP
214. Northern Colorado 95. ETSU # (or Norfolk State) #
51. South Carolina 294. Norfolk State ^ - MVC Challenge
196. Denver (or UTEP) # # - Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitationa
(Non-D1) Dixie State # - Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitationa

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 0 wins and 3 losses (@Oregon State, @Denver, @South Carolina)

Allen Edwards’ Cowboys have won at least 20 in both of his seasons in charge, though last season’s victory total was a decline of three when compared to 2016-17. Wyoming started off with nine non-conference wins, capped by a berth in the Cayman Islands Classic final (a loss to Cincinnati). Equalling that total will be a challenge, even with SEC contender South Carolina‘s visit to Laramie offering the Cowboys an upset opportunity, thanks to Wyoming’s participation in a pair of tournaments. In November’s Fort Myers Tip-Off, the Pokes open with Boston College, an NCAA threat from the ACC, while in the Sun Bowl Classic before Christmas, SoCon contender ETSU will serve as the first opponent in El Paso.

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