It took Wyoming nearly three decades to get back into the AP Top 25. Now Larry Shyatt’s Cowboys get the chance to stick around.
Back in the poll for the first time since 1988, No. 25 Wyoming hosts San Diego State on Wednesday night as it tries to stay unbeaten in the Mountain West Conference.
“I think if you were to ask them (about the ranking), they’d probably say, ‘That’s pretty neat for other people but we’ve got a lot of work to do,'” Shyatt said of his players.
Wyoming (15-2, 4-0) has won seven straight games overall and 13 straight at home, the program’s best streak there since the 2000-01 season.
After hosting the Aztecs — who were ranked 13th in December — Wyoming travels to Fresno State on Saturday.
This is the first time the Cowboys have been ranked since the Fennis Dembo-led squad checked in at No. 13 in March 1988. Shyatt coached against that squad as an assistant at New Mexico, and has now helped bring back that same program.
Wyoming hasn’t won the Mountain West regular-season title or been to the NCAA tournament since 2002.
“The only thing we’re going to talk about is the team we have coming up: San Diego State,” Shyatt said. “They actually have what it is that these guys want. They have championships.”
TOP-10 MATCHUPS: There are two top-10 matchups to headline the AP Top 25 schedule this week, both on Saturday.
First, No. 4 Duke (14-1) travels to No. 6 Louisville (14-2) in the Atlantic Coast Conference in a game that lost some of its luster when the Blue Devils suffered their first loss at North Carolina State on Sunday. It has been set up for Duke Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski to go for his 1,000th career victory against another Hall of Famer, the Cardinals’ Rick Pitino.
That night, No. 8 Utah (13-2) travels to No. 10 Arizona (14-2) in the Pac-12.
BIG 12 THROWDOWNS: For the second straight week, the Big 12 has several ranked teams squaring off.
On Tuesday, No. 9 Kansas (13-2) hosts No. 24 Oklahoma State (12-3) and No. 16 West Virginia (14-2) hosts No. 18 Oklahoma (11-4).
One night later, No. 11 Iowa State (12-2) travels to No. 22 Baylor (12-3).
The schedule is full on Saturday: No. 9 Kansas at No. 11 Iowa State, No. 16 West Virginia at No. 20 Texas (12-4), and No. 24 Oklahoma State at No. 18 Oklahoma.
KENTUCKY STILL NO. 1: Kentucky stayed No. 1, but not unanimously.
The top-ranked Wildcats (15-0) were atop 63 of 65 votes cast Monday, ending a run of five straight weeks as the unanimous No. 1. Kentucky beat Mississippi at home in overtime in its Southeastern Conference opener then won in double OT at Texas A&M.
Kentucky hosts Missouri on Tuesday and travels to Alabama on Saturday.
“We’re still winning tough games and we’re fighting like crazy,” coach John Calipari said. “It’s just that we’re not exactly where we were, and it’s all good because I don’t want us to be like it’s March right now. It’s too early to be like it’s March.”
VIRGINIA’S VOTES: No. 2 Virginia (15-0), the only other unbeaten team remaining, earned the other two first-place votes.
The voters who switched to Virginia had similar logic behind their decision. John Feinstein of The Washington Post and Zach Osterman of The Indianapolis Star both cited Kentucky’s overtime struggles compared to Virginia’s road win against a ranked Notre Dame team that had won 11 straight.
Both also said they vote based on who is playing the best right now instead of who will finish No. 1.
Virginia hosts Clemson on Tuesday then travels to Boston College on Saturday.
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