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Pokes to play Texas A&M

Mar 18, 2014 - From staff reports

LARAMIE -- In the three seasons since Larry Shyatt returned to coach the University of Wyoming men's basketball program, he has wanted to accomplish certain goals.

These include:

Win games and develop a defensive and winning culture. UW is 59-40, has been among the Mountain West leaders in scoring defense and has advanced to the postseason all three seasons for the first time since 2001-03. The story was reported by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Improve in the classroom. Shyatt said the program has had five consecutive semesters where its players achieved a 2.8 or better grade-point average.

Be competitive against the best teams in the MW. UW beat nationally-ranked San Diego State at home this season, and the Aztecs are a four seed in this year's NCAA Tournament. It also lost to the MW Tournament champion New Mexico twice in overtime by a combined eight points. Over the last three seasons, it also beat Colorado and UNLV at home when they were nationally ranked.

UW (18-14) plays at Texas A&M (17-15) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in a first-round game in the College Basketball Invitational, its third straight year in this event.

"Are we satisfied? No," Shyatt said Monday. "Was the CBI the immediate goal at the beginning of the year? No. Is there a pride factor on being invited? Yes."

Players feel the same way, as they get a chance to play a Southeastern Conference team, or as Shyatt said when using a football term -- a BCS team from a BCS conference.

"It's exciting to play against a team from one of the tougher leagues in America," senior guard Nathan Sobey said. "It is an opportunity for us to go in there and show them what we got."

Shyatt said UW asked the Gazelle Group, the organization that runs the CBI, to have UW play a BCS school in its first-round game. He also said the Aggies are "probably the most talented team on the board."

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