Know thy enemy: A preview of the week in UVU sports

Photo by Brigham Berthold

With the bulk of the nonconference foes behind them, the spring sports teams of UVU are now in the heart of the most important part of the season: Western Athletic Conference play (or, in the wrestling team’s case, Big 12 Conference play). What happens over the next few weeks of competition will go a long way towards determining the postseason fate of the Wolverines in both men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling. This week, there’s a good slate of both home and away games to keep track of.

The men’s basketball team will host their first WAC foe of the season Thursday, when Chicago State University visits the UCCU Center. The Cougars have struggled to stay competitive this season with their losses at an average of 20.6 points per game. The low point of CSU’s nonconference schedule came Dec. 17 with a 61-109 loss to DePaul. The Cougars are led by Fred Sims Jr., averaging 18 points per game. Trayvon Palmer is nearly averaging a double-double for CSU with 14 points and nine rebounds per contest.

The Wolverines’ two-game home stand will conclude Saturday with a visit from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Kangaroos were ambitious with their nonconference schedule this season, visiting No. 3 Kansas, No. 10 Creighton and No. 11 West Virginia. While the KU and WVU games were the blowout losses one might expect, UMKC gave Creighton all they could handle before falling by just seven points, 89-82, showing that the ‘Roos are not to be underestimated. LaVell Boyd leads UMKC with nearly 20 points per game and shoots 42 percent from the 3-point line. Containing him will be key for a Wolverine victory.

The women’s basketball team will take to the road after hosting their first conference game of the season, traveling to the same schools that are visiting UVU on the men’s side. The CSU women’s team completed their nonconference slate at a winless 0-14 with only a few of the games being competitive. They average 53 points per game while giving up 71. If the Wolverines can contain Sh’Toya Sanders, averaging a double-double at 16 points and 10 rebounds, they should secure a victory.

The women will wrap the weekend in Missouri playing UMKC. The Kangaroos’ nonconference play was highlighted by a 56-54 win at Wichita State. UMKC’s leading scorer is Samantha Waldron, who averages nearly 15 points per game, including shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.

After hosting the UVU Open last week, the wrestling team will stay at home to host the Air Force Falcons on Friday in the newly renovated Lockhart Arena. The dual meet will be the conference opener for each team. UVU faces a familiar foe in AFA as both squads took part in the Cowboy Open, the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle earlier this season.

Reporting by: Kaleb Searle, Devin Olsen

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