This is an unknown enemy.
Back on the practice court on Monday, most Cowboys had a similar description of Wednesday's CBI opponent, Texas A&M:
Big-time school. Big-time conference. Big-time opportunity.
The specifics, however, were hazy at best. This is not a Mountain West match-up, where the opposing players are familiar and the team's game tape is readily available. Wyoming has less than three days to prepare for Texas A&M, an SEC program that has not faced Wyoming since 1986 -- before any current UW players (or the team's beat writer) were born.
On Monday, the game was set but the information was scarce. Like many teams embarking on postseason play, the Cowboys were forced to play catch-up.
“Honestly, we don’t know," senior guard Jerron Granberry said of the team's knowledge of Texas A&M. "This is our first day back. We shot yesterday. So we’re just excited.
"They’re an SEC team that did pretty well in the conference and they’re in the CBI, so they’re just the next opponent up.”
In the next two days leading up to Wednesday's game at 6 p.m., here's what the Cowboys will likely learn about the Aggies. Texas A&M struggled offensively this season, averaging 65.2 points per game to rank 13th in the SEC. Its strength came on the defensive end, where Billy Kennedy's team ranked third in the conference and 35th in the NCAA by allowing only 63.4 points per game.
After taking an early glance at his opponent, Larry Shyatt said Texas A&M reminds him of another team he's very familiar with -- Wyoming.
“There is a similarity in terms of their focus on defense, competitiveness, toughness," Shyatt said. "You play in the SEC and you give up 63 points per game, that’s pretty good defense.”
One key difference, however, is size. Texas A&M features 10 players on its roster that stand at least 6-foot-5. Jamal Jones, the team's only double-figure scorer at 13.6 points per game, is 6-8 but listed as a guard.
The Aggies are long and athletic at every position, and it will be a challenge for the undersized Cowboys to match up.
“They’ve got size. Their guards are pretty big, and they’ve got inside bigs," 6-2 sophomore guard Josh Adams said. "So we have to switch up the defense a lot and team rebound.”
Though they finished ninth in the SEC, the Aggies were able to pick up a handful of impressive victories, including a season sweep of NCAA Tournament competitor Tennessee. Texas A&M did much of its damage in College Station, Texas, where it compiled a 16-3 record and will host Wyoming on Wednesday.
Especially in the CBI, this is far from a favorable match-up. But it's one Shyatt and Co. requested.
"In this particular case we had asked for a BCS team," Shyatt said. "Fortunately, the Gazelle Group was kind enough to give us probably the most talented team on the board.
"I spent seven years in the SEC so I have an extremely high level of respect for all the basketball programs. And knowing Texas A&M had actually swept Tennessee and knocked off some other pretty talented teams, at 16-3 at home, we’ve got a tall order.”
Like they have all season, the Cowboys enter perhaps their final game with another mountain to climb. They're familiar with the challenge, more so than the opponent.
“Big school, playing in a big conference," Wyoming senior guard Nathan Sobey said. "What better opportunity than to play against a team that plays in a conference like that, to earn a little respect?”