DAYTON, Ohio -- It didn't end the way Wyoming wanted it to.

It wasn't supposed to.

This team was picked to finish tied for eighth place in the Mountain West by the league's media this preseason. A roster filled with unproven players and the exit of Freshman of the Year, Marcus Williams, left many wondering if the Cowboys were ready to compete, let alone win.

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Behind the dynamic duo of Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado, UW rolled up a 25-9 record this season -- including 11 wins away from Laramie -- and received an at-large bid to the program's 16th NCAA Tournament appearance.

That didn't go as planned.

Indiana pulled away late for the 66-58 victory Tuesday night in the First Four game of the Big Dance inside UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

Wyoming fans this season witnessed the emergence of guys like Brendan Wenzel, Jeremiah Oden and Noah Reynolds. Drake Jeffries was one the top 3-point shooters in the country. Xavier DuSell made life miserable for some of the top scorers in the conference.

Hunter Thompson gave the Pokes valuable minutes and started dropping triples in crunch time.

Jeff Linder, in just his second season roaming the sidelines in Laramie, has helped reinvigorate not only a program, but a fanbase that has been starving for success. The Arena-Auditorium, once again, is the place to be during the long, cold Wyoming winter months.

What a ride it was.

And with a majority of this roster set to return, and the addition of a couple more pieces, the Cowboys could get nice and comfy at the top of the standings.

This could be the new norm on the high plains.

Check out some shots from Getty Images of Tuesday night's date with the Hoosiers in Dayton:

Wyoming lands in 16th NCAA Tournament

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