With the departure of five seniors, Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt knows he’ll have a plenty of youth on his 2015-16 roster.
He plans to test his new team early and often.
In an interview with the Casper Star-Tribune on Monday, Shyatt released the eight determined games and seven determined dates on the Cowboys’ nonconference schedule. It features six games away from Laramie, twice as many as UW’s 2014-15 slate included.
“We scheduled those in hopes of pushing them early,” Shyatt said. “Get them indoctrinated, so to speak. It’ll also help our RPI.”
A home contest against California of the Pac-12 Conference on Dec. 5 and a tournament in Las Vegas on Dec. 21-22 highlight the schedule.
UW will hit the road Nov. 16 to play at Indiana State in the revived Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge.
The Sycamores tied for third in the MVC in 2014-15, finishing behind champion Wichita State and second-place Northern Iowa, which ousted Wyoming from the NCAA tournament.
Indiana State will return four of five starters, including its top three statistical leaders in points, rebounds and assists.
“We chose to go on the road for that,” Shyatt said.
The Cowboys will also play road games at Denver on Dec. 2 and at New Mexico State on Dec. 13.
UW will take on Montana State on Nov. 22 in a neutral-site game in Billings, Montana.
The name of the Las Vegas tournament, which will be played at Cox Pavilion and is under the Global Sports umbrella, has not been released. Wyoming played in tournaments run by Global Sports in both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
The Cowboys’ first opponent in Las Vegas will be Marshall. They’ll play either Houston or Grand Canyon in the championship or third-place game. Their first two games in the event will be in Laramie. One of the opponents will be Nebraska-Omaha, while the other has not been determined. The date of the contest with UNO hasn't yet been solidified.
One regular missing from UW’s schedule is Colorado, which Shyatt said refused to renew its contract with the Cowboys. The two teams had met in each of the past four seasons.
“We’ve won four of the last five. That’s not working,” he said, smiling.
Wyoming has actually won seven of its past eight games against the Buffaloes, including a 56-33 rout on Nov. 22 in Laramie.
In each of the past three seasons, the Cowboys have played 13 nonconference games. If they elect to do the same this year, they’ll need to add another five home games.
In a perfect world, Shyatt wouldn’t need to schedule low-RPI teams like Florida A&M and Stetson — both of which Wyoming blew out last season — to complete his nonconference schedule.
But at the moment, he doesn't expect another power-conference opponent like Cal to visit the Arena-Auditorium.
“We’ve reached out to every BCS school in the country,” Shyatt said. “None will come here.”