LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt is at his wits’ end in trying to get a major nonconference school to play the Cowboys in Laramie.
Entering his sixth season at UW since he returned as coach, Shyatt has exhausted his college basketball connections.
“We reached out to every (major conference) school in the country,” said Shyatt, Wyoming’s men’s basketball coach. “None will come here.”
He’s made pleas for help from the Mountain West Conference.
“There was no response,” Shyatt said.
Since 1997, only four power conference foes have visited the Arena-Auditorium: Colorado (in 1996-97, 2007-08, 2012-13 and 2014-15), South Carolina (2002-03), Washington (2003-04) and Washington State (2004-05).
UW has just one home game with a team from a major conference this season — Pac-12 member California on Dec. 5. That is the second game of a series in which Wyoming plays at California twice in exchange for one game in Laramie.
The combination of Laramie’s 7,220-foot elevation, isolated location and recent success on its home court — UW is 60-15 at home the last four years under Shyatt — seems to repel larger programs from playing at UW.
Besides Colorado, the most recent team to give Wyoming a straight-up home-and-home series was Washington State, which came to Laramie in 2004 and hosted the Cowboys in 2005. And Colorado, located about 110 miles away in Boulder, has declined to continue its series with Wyoming.
“They’re not playing us, and quite honestly, if I was the head coach at Colorado or Florida, I don’t know if I would come to Laramie unless they’d play in October, September, August, July or June,” Shyatt said. “If I’m thinking selfishly of my university, what am I getting? What are we getting? What’s our league getting? Tough call.”
To help counter the problem, UW has entered tournaments but games against bigger name schools are outside Wyoming.
This season, it plays the final two rounds of the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas against Marshall and either Houston or Grand Canyon.
Next season, UW will play in a tournament in Las Vegas that could include USC, DePaul and Missouri State. The following season, it is set to play in a tournament in the Cayman Islands.
Wyoming opens its 2015-16 season at home against Bristol University on Nov. 13.