Just the Facts: Wyoming vs. Colorado Basketball
LARAMIE -- Did you know the University of Wyoming men's basketball team has played 26 teams from the state of Colorado in its history?
Did you know the Cowboys have a winning record or are tied in the series against every single one of them aside from one?
No, it's not the University of Colorado. The Pokes own that series, 43-37. UW has a commanding 36-game lead over Border War rival, Colorado State, too. It's not Air Force, either. Wyoming has an 80-41 edge over the Falcons. Same can be said for Colorado's other two Division-I teams, the University of Denver (106-52) and Northern Colorado (54-22).
Oddly enough, the team that owns a winning record is Denver American Legion.
To make matters even more bizarre, the Cowboys lost to this team during the 1942-43 season. That, of course, was the year Kenny Sailors and Co. claimed a national title with a 46-34 win over Georgetown inside Madison Square Garden.
For good measure, UW also took down St. John's in New York City two nights later to win the NIT Championship in a charity event for the Red Cross.
Wyoming lost just two games that season. The first came at Duquesne in the fourth game of the year. The other, the mighty American Legion team from the Mile High City pulled off the 41-33 home win in late March.
So, just who is this Denver American Legion squad?
After further review, it was the original Denver Nuggets, the first professional basketball team in the state.
They were called the Denver Safeway Pigs (1932-38) first. Then the Nuggets (1939-40) and American Legion (1941-44). During the 1945-46 campaign, the name once again changed. This time to the Denver Ambrose Jellymakers. It went back to the Nuggets for four more seasons then the Denver Refiners (1950-51).
Back in those days, this DAL program was a part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), American Basketball League, National Basketball League, National Professional Basketball League and the NBA.
Turns out there was a Wyoming tie on that DAL roster, too.
Bill Strannigan, who played football, baseball and basketball for the Cowboys from 1939-42, and later coached the men's basketball team from 1959-73, played for that American Legion squad. Twice, Strannigan was named an AAU All-American during his time in Denver.
Let's see the records versus the schools down south:
Colorado State: 136-100
Air Force: 80-41
Northern Colorado: 54-22
Colorado Christian: 1-0
Colorado College: 22-12
Colorado Independents: 1-0
Colorado Mesa: 1-0
Colorado School of Mines: 20-14
CU-Colorado Springs: 2-0
Denver Athletic Club: 1-1
Denver American Legion: 0-1
Eaton High School: 1-0
Fort Collins VFW: 1-0
Fort Lewis: 4-0
Greeley Arrows: 2-0
Greeley Red Sox: 2-0
Johnson & Wales: 1-0
Metro State: 1-0
Poudre Valley: 1-1
Western State: 29-2
Wheatridge Athletic Club: 1-0
Adams State: 4-0
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