Gear up for gameday: New Mexico
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- Wyoming hasn't played a college basketball game in 11 days.
Tonight's opponent likely has little remorse for Jeff Linder's bunch.
New Mexico hasn't played since Jan. 30. They haven't stepped foot inside the friendly confines of their historic home gym, The Pit, in Albuquerque. Paul Weir's Lobos have played their "home games" in Lubbock and Houston, Texas. Even St. George, Utah has served as a makeshift home away from home because of the strenuous public health orders in their home state.
Last Tuesday, just minutes before tipoff in Fort Collins, New Mexico was forced to cancel its two-game series against Colorado State. Assistant coach Scott Padgett was contact traced.
You might recall that COVID-19 also sent the New Mexico football team on a season-long hiatus. Their home field was Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, former stomping grounds of the UNLV Rebels. They did walk-throughs in casino parking lots and stayed in hotels for months on end.
Clune Arena will serve as the designated venue for the last four games of the regular season, beginning at 6 p.m. MST against Wyoming. The two Mountain West rivals will meet again Friday night and the Lobos put a bow on this regular season in Colorado Springs against Air Force.
The Lobos might not play violins for the Cowboys, who were forced to opt out of a two-game set at Utah State last week, but Linder was quick to dish out plenty of credit to the nomads from Albuquerque.
"I just commend coach Weir, his staff and his players on what they've had to go through just to play," Linder said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. "There's been no team in the country that's had to deal with what they've been dealing with all year long. For them to continue to play, people don't realize how hard it is.
“It’s hard when we’re sleeping in our own beds, playing in our own gym and practicing in our own gym. I can only imagine when you’re having to be at somebody else’s gym, having to live out of a hotel and having to eat food out of boxes all the time."
Wyoming has dropped four straight, including a pair to Border War rival CSU on Feb. 4 and 6. The Lobos haven't won a game since Jan. 21. They enter tonight on a three-game skid.
Mountain West Conference standings
1 Utah State (14-5, 11-2)
2 Boise State (16-4, 12-3)
3 Colorado State (14-4, 11-3)
4 San Diego State (15-4, 9-3)
5 Nevada (14-7, 9-5)
6 Fresno State (9-7, 7-7)
7 UNLV (8-11, 5-7)
8 Wyoming (10-9, 4-8)
9 San Jose State (5-13, 3-11)
10 Air Force (4-16, 2-14)
11 New Mexico (5-11, 1-11)
Here is all you need to know about tonight's tilt in the Springs:
WHO: Wyoming (10-9, 4-8) at New Mexico (5-11, 1-11)
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. MST
WHERE: Clune Arena, Colorado Springs, Colo.
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network
STREAMING: Mountain West Network
BOX SCORE: Live stats
ROSTERS: Wyoming / New Mexico
VEGAS ODDS: Wyoming -6, O/U 138
HISTORY: New Mexico leads the all-time series 75-68 (Lobos swept the season series in 2020)
HEAD COACHES: Jeff Linder / Paul Weir