LARAMIE -- Who are you rooting for in the upcoming NCAA Tournament?

It certainly isn't Wyoming.

Y95 Country logo
Get our free mobile app

Blowing a nine-point lead late in the opening round of last week's Mountain West Tournament brought any hopes of a miracle postseason run to a screeching halt. Those aspirations were already slim -- and that's being kind -- before the Cowboys even landed in Las Vegas.

For the second straight season, Jeff Linder's squad is on the outside looking in.

A mass exodus of players leaving the program after the 2022 campaign is partially to blame for that. If you ask the head coach, a lack of NIL money isn't helping matters, either. Whatever the case, the Cowboys now get to watch six of their conference foes prepare for madness from the comfort of their couches this March.

Wyoming played 10 teams in this tourney. That equated to 14 total games. The Cowboys went 4-10 overall, featuring victories over Colorado State, Nevada, College of Charleston and South Dakota State.

The losses were at the hands of BYU, Texas, San Diego State, Boise State, New Mexico (x2), Utah State (x2), CSU and Nevada.

So, again, who are you pulling for?

Undecided? This may help.

If not, it's sure to bring up some kind of emotion, good, bad or both.

I sifted through all 68 tournament rosters Monday afternoon in search of players, coaches and even some support staff with ties to the Cowboy State. If we missed any -- hey, it's a daunting task and I don't suggest doing it yourself -- let us know in the comments.

Maybe this list will help you find your "team" this spring:


David Moats - Boise State

Guernsey, Wyoming native David Moats has been a member of Leon Rice's staff at Boise State for the last seven seasons. His first as a true assistant came this season. Moats, who played basketball for two seasons at Northwest Junior College in Powell, helped lead the Broncos to a 22-10 finish and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Boise State plays Colorado Wednesday night in Dayton in the First Four. Moats graduated from Wyoming in 2012 with a degree in kinesiology. He was also a student assistant for the Cowboys under Larry Shyatt.


Chris Haslam - Utah State

This 6-foot-11 center appeared in 92 games for Wyoming from 1993-1997. Chris Haslam's best season came during his junior campaign where he averaged better than four points and the same number of rebounds for Joby Wright's 1995-96 squad. Injuries limited the big man to 18 games during his final season in Laramie. After a 13-year professional basketball career that took him to places like Greece, Italy, Germany and other countries, Haslam landed his first Division-I assistant coaching job at Montana State in 2014 after spending time at Lamar Community College (Colo.) and Everton Academy (Missouri). He spent nine seasons in Bozeman before Following Danny Sprinkle to Utah State. The Aggies shocked the college basketball world this season, claiming a regular season conference title after returning zero starters -- or scoring -- from the 2022-23 team. Haslam earned his bachelor’s degree from Wyoming in 2010.


Max Agbonkpolo - Utah State

Another former Wyoming Cowboy is also a current member of the Mountain West champion Utah State Aggies. That man is Max Agbonkpolo, who appeared in just 16 games -- starting six -- last season in Laramie after transferring from USC. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged just 5.4 points per outing and, along with fellow Los Angeles products and offseason additions Ethan Anderson and Jake Kyman, abruptly left Laramie in February with nine games remaining in the regular season. Agbonkpolo played in just 10 games for the Aggies before suffering a season-ending injury.


JayDee Luster - San Diego State

This San Diego native suited up for the Cowboys from three seasons (2009-12) after spending his first year at New Mexico State. During his time in Laramie, Luster was an assist machine, dishing out more than three helpers per outing. Luster finished his career ranked No. 8 in Wyoming history with 344 career assists and helped lead the Cowboys to a 21-12 record as a senior. After spending five seasons on the staff at Pacific, Luster was named an assistant coach at San Diego State in 2021. The Aztecs marched all the way to the national championship game last April.


Isaac Mushila - New Mexico

While there are no University of Wyoming ties with Isaac Mushila, the 6-foot-5 forward from Lubumbashi, Congo, Africa, did spend his first collegiate season at Gillette College before moving on to Western Texas then Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and eventually the University of New Mexico. During his time at Campbell County, Mushila was named to the NJCAA Region IX All-Tournament Team. He appeared in 32 games for the Pronghorns and averaged better than 13 points per game during the 2019-20 campaign.


Graham Ike - Gonzaga

Last year's Preseason Mountain West Player of the Year never left the bench in Laramie after suffering a foot injury just prior to the regular season. A nine-win campaign followed and Graham Ike entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, eventually landing at Gonzaga. The season prior, however, the Colorado product averaged nearly 20 points and better than nine rebounds a game while leading the Cowboys to the First Four of the NCAA Tournament. Ike netted 16.5 a night for the Bulldogs this season and helped lead Mark Few's team to its 25th straight trip to March Madness.


Nate Barnhart - South Dakota State

This 7-footer was one of 10 players to leave the Wyoming basketball program via the NCAA Transfer Portal last offseason. Nate Barnhart landed in Brookings, where he averaged less than four points a game this season. The Cowboys and Jackrabbits met at a tournament in El Paso. He netted eight points as Wyoming rolled to a 78-65 victory. During his lone season on the high plains, the Kansas native appeared in just 20 games and scored less than three points per outing.


Pat Kelsey - College of Charleston

Wyoming also faced -- and beat -- former player Pat Kelsey this season. The Cowboys knocked off the College of Charleston 67-60 in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. Kelsey played just one season (1993-94) in Laramie, averaging 2.3 points and 3.3 assists in 28 games (22 starts) under then head coach Joby Wright. Kelsey, a point guard, eventually transferred to Xavier where he served as a role player for three seasons. Kelsey was named the 24th head coach in College of Charleston history in 2021. Since, he has led the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament twice.


James Doran - UConn

For nearly two decades, James Doran has served as the Associate Head Athletic Trainer for the UConn men's basketball program. Year 18 saw the Huskies claim a national championship with a victory over San Diego State in last April's title game. From 2000-05, Doran was the associate athletic trainer at Wyoming under then head coach Steve McClain. He also received his M.S. degree in exercise science from UW in 2000.


Sam Lecholat - Montana State

This former two-time Wyoming Gatorade Player of the Year signed with Montana State prior to the 2021 season. Sam Lecholat, a Sheridan product, appeared in 32 games as a true freshman, averaging more than eight minutes a night. The 6-foot-7 forward played in 34 games this season and is averaging better than five points and 3.7 rebounds an outing. Lecholat, now a junior, netted more than 1,000 points during his career at Sheridan High School and averaged a double-double over his final three seasons.


Steve Roccaforte - Texas A&M

When Steve McClain arrived on campus in 1998, Steve Roccaforte joined him in Laramie. For three seasons, he served as an assistant in Laramie. The Cowboys won 18 games the first year under McClain and Co. They upped that total by one the following season. In 2000, Wyoming won 20 games and finished third in the Mountain West standings. Roccaforte took a job at Memphis while the Cowboys won their first conference crown since 1986 and knocked off Gonzaga in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Roccaforte is currently in his third season in College Station after stints at Virginia Tech, USF and Tulane.


Steve McClain - Texas

For nine seasons (1998-2007), Steve McClain was the bench boss of the Cowboys. He led the program to an overall record of 157-115 and claimed a pair of Mountain West titles in 2001 and '02. He is the last head coach to win an NCAA Tournament game at Wyoming, upsetting No. 6 seed Gonzaga 73-66 in the opening round. The Pokes would fall to No. 3  Arizona 68-60 two days later. McClain's team won 21 games in 2002-03 and made it to the second round of the NIT. Mediocrity followed over his final four seasons at the helm. The Cowboys never finished higher than fourth. After McClain was fired in 2007, he became an assistant at Colorado and Indiana before landing the head gig at the University of Illinois Chicago. He spent five seasons there, compiling a record of 76-93. McClain again became an assistant, this time heading to Georgia. He has been at the University of Texas since 2022.


Ty Larson - Texas

Joining McClain in Austin is Ty Larson, a Douglas native who now serves as the Longhorns' Director of Recruiting. Though this is Larson's first year in that role, he has been on the staff at Texas for three seasons. Before that, the former three-time all-conference point guard served as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech under Chris Beard. Larson played college basketball for two seasons (2017-19) at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington.


Marc Rodgers - Grand Canyon

Marc Rodgers landed at GCU this offseason after spending two years on Jeff Linder's staff in Laramie, the first as a Director of Recruiting and the second as a full-time assistant. Rodgers helped lead the Cowboys to the First Four of the NCAA Tournament in 2022. Wyoming won just nine games last season. Rodgers, as his official GCU bio states, was "credited with Wyoming's transfer portal success in landing recruits from USC (Ethan Anderson and Max Agbonkpolo) and UCLA (Jake Kyman) through his Los Angeles basketball connections and relationships." Those three unexpectedly left the program with nine games remaining in the 2022-23 regular season schedule.

POKES: The Seven Best Games In The History Of The Wyoming-CSU Border War Rivalry (Naturally, they were all Wyoming wins)

More From Y95 Country