Laramie • Adding some pregame notes into the mix from Laramie, where it might even be colder than Logan today. Friday was a little more eventful than expected:
Wyoming without head coach
The Cowboys announced Friday afternoon that head coach Larry Shyatt will not coach Saturday's game against Utah State due to health concerns.
According to a school news release, Shyatt has been advised to take a few days off from coaching as he deals with "a reoccurrence of a viral illness." Assistant Jeremy Shyatt, Larry Shyatt's oldest son, will coach the game after being in charge of scouting and developing the game plan for Utah State.
It is not the first time Shyatt has missed time: He also didn't coach on Jan. 22 when Wyoming took on Air Force. The Cowboys won that game 66-59.
Robert Gagliardi of WyoSports.Net had a chance to talk to Jeremy Shyatt about his father's health: "It's like anything else: He just needs a little rest and he will be back to normal in no time," he told the press. "It's really not different if you or me had a virus and tried to do too many things before we shook it."
'Gold-out' planned against Aggies
Utah State had its White Out, now Wyoming will have its Gold Out.
The school has encouraged its fans to wear gold, one of the school colors, to Saturday's 4 p.m. tip to help support the Cowboys against the Aggies. Fan attendance has averaged 4,913 fans for the 15,000-seat Arena-Auditorium, but has risen a bit in Mountain West play.
The most notable stat about the "Dome of Doom" is its elevation: 7,220 feet, the highest basketball court in Division I. Wyoming has posted signs reminding opponents of that fact. Coach Stew Morrill said he hoped his team didn't buy into the mental game, but added that he wasn't sure how hostile the crowd might be Saturday afternoon.
"You go up there and it's like all road games," he said. "They can get real crazy there, I don't know how they'll be. I don't know if there's anything real different about it, it's just another tough place."
Utah State goes charter
Travel fatigue has been a subplot this year, as Morrill has talked about the difficulties of flying commerical with a daunting league travel schedule in which the Aggies must often play home and road games in the same week.
At least for the trip to Laramie, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Denver and a six-hour drive from Logan, Morrill got his wish. The team chartered a flight directly to Wyoming on Friday afternoon, taking the headache out of the travel to one extent.
Morrill said he was sure "the administration is tired of hearing me talk about it," but added that he was grateful for the times Utah State can take a plane straight to its destination.
"It's a great luxury when you can do it," he said. "We're appreciative that we can do it this time."
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