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Pokes host ND State in CBI; honor Sailors Wednesday

Mar 13, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE (AP) -- Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt sees nothing to be ashamed of by playing in the College Basketball Invitational tournament.

"There are opportunities in front of us, and I think that's the approach that this team will take," Shyatt said Monday.

When the Cowboys (20-11) host North Dakota State (17-13) on Wednesday night in the first round, it will be Wyoming's first postseason game in three years and give the team the chance to win 21 games for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

Shyatt said the CBI is a "high level tournament despite what might be written or might be said by others."

He noted that teams playing in the CBI in the past have included Cincinnati, Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford.

"I would dare say it's not bad company," Shyatt said.

Butler, coming off two straight Final Fours appearances, is among the 16 teams in this year's tournament.

Shyatt said the Cowboys are focused on winning the CBI, which features a unique best of three series between the final two teams for the championship.

"We just want to earn everything that we can, and so whatever group invited us we're going to play as hard as we can," he said. "I mean that's really been their disposition from the get-go."

Senior center Adam Waddell said the team obviously preferred to get an NIT invite but the seniors are excited for the CBI nonetheless.

"I think the mindset is going to be how it's been all year," Waddell said. "Like coach said we haven't asked for anything all year and to get this opportunity to play one more time, if not a couple more times maybe, here in Laramie is something that we're going to cherish."

Wyoming appeared in the 2009 CBI tournament, losing to Northeastern in the first round.

Sailors to be honored

The University of Wyoming will honor Kenny Sailors at halftime of Wyoming's game against North Dakota State on Wednesday night.

The College Basketball Invitational contest is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. at Arena-Auditorium.

The 91-year-old Sailors has been selected to the NCAA Basketball Hall of Fame.

Sailors led Wyoming to the 1943 NCAA Championship, while being named the National Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player in the '43 NCAA Tournament.

He is credited by some with being the first to use the modern day jump shot. He is the oldest living Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament.

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