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‘You have to be a versatile team’

University of Wyoming men’s basketball has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2015, but head coach Jeff Linder believes “the foundation is there” to break the drought.
University of Wyoming Head Men's Basketball Coach Jeff Linder talking about how to get the...
University of Wyoming Head Men's Basketball Coach Jeff Linder talking about how to get the Cowboys back to the NCAA Tournament during a Zoom interview on March 31, 2021.(David Graf)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 1:33 AM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2015, and this year’s NCAA Tournament concluded with Baylor taking home its first men’s NCAA championship in school history.

After some down years for the Pokes men’s basketball program, head coach Jeff Linder, in his first year in Laramie, has brought new energy to the program.

There are high expectations heading into next basketball season after watching the development of some talented underclassman in Laramie this season.

Coach Linder said it’s still hard to make the tournament. “There’s only 68 teams that make it, and so it’s something that when you do have the opportunity to make it, you have to make the most of it,” said Linder. “But I do think with the players that we have right now in the program, I do feel like we have the talent.”

That talent is headlined by Mountain West Freshman of the Year Marcus Williams, who dazzled Pokes fans with his scoring ability.

Linder has been a part of three NCAA Tournament teams during his coaching career, as an assistant at Weber State and Boise State.

“In order to get to the NCAA Tournament, you have to be a versatile team,” said Linder. “You have to be good on offense. You’ve got to be good on defense, and I think that’s the one that our guys know as we move forward, we’ve got to be better on the defensive end.”

Wyoming was ranked in the bottom half of the country of most defensive rankings, but Linder said the team will be able to build on the experience gained from this year.

“You can’t put a price on it,” said Linder. “I mean experience is the biggest thing that allows players to grow. You can do a lot of things in the gym, but you can’t put a price on game experience.”

Linder also said he believes the foundation is built and is excited to see the team continue to get better. The team is preparing to get back in the gym and working towards next season soon.

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