The Colorado State men's basketball team remains at home, hosting UNLV, who is ranked 23rd in the latest USA Today Coaches Top-25 poll, on Saturday afternoon at Moby Arena.
The 14-3 (1-1 MW) Rams are coming off of a huge 79-40 victory over in-state rival Air Force, the largest victory (39 points) ever for the Rams against an MW foe, to even their league record heading before back-to-back games against ranked opponents (vs. RV/23) UNLV and at 19/21 New Mexico).
UNLV (15-3, 2-1 MW) has won two straight after dropping their MW opener at New Mexico (65-60) on Jan. 9. Since then, the Runnin' Rebels have outlasted Air Force in overtime at home (76-71), and picked up an impressive victory over No. 15/14 San Diego State (82-75) on Wednesday.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Aztecs is set for 5 p.m. MT on NBC Sports Network.
The Rams split with the Rebels in 2011-12, falling 82-63 at then-No. 11/13 UNLV, but storming back from a 41-26 first-half deficit to defeat 17/17 UNLV, 66-59, at Moby Arena.
Voice of the Rams Brian Roth will have the call on the Colorado State Sports Network - 560 AM KLZ (Denver), 600 AM KCOL (Fort Collins), 1010 AM KSIR (Fort Morgan) and 1100 AM KNZZ (Grand Junction).
Streaming audio (free) is available via Rams All-Access and live statistics can be viewed online via GameTracker at CSURams.com.
Rams quick hits
The 2012-13 season marks the 110th in the history of the Colorado State men's basketball program. The Rams are 1,143-1,173 (.494) in 2,316 games all-time.
Colorado State enters the 2012-13 men's basketball season under the direction of new head coach Larry Eustachy, in his 22nd season as a head coach at the NCAA Division I level.
The Colorado State basketball program is looking for its fourth-consecutive postseason appearance, and its second straight NCAA Tournament berth, in 2012-13.
The Rams return an experienced roster with seven letterwinners back form the 2011-12 season.
The Rams welcome a host of talented newcomers to the court this season, including Division I transfers Colton Iverson (Minnesota) and Daniel Bejarano (Arizona) who sat out 2011-12 per NCAA transfer rules.
In early August, the CSU basketball program spent five days together at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. Per NCAA rules, the team was allotted 10 days of practice leading up to the trip, and then played an exhibition contest against the Bahamas All-Stars, winning 95-80 behind a double-double effort (18 points, 14 rebounds) from Colton Iverson.
Colorado State enters Saturday's game with a 14-3 record. The Rams opened the season 6-0, tying the program mark for best start established in 1970-71 and matched by the 2005-06 squad, and reached 13-2 to close non-conference play, tying the program's best 15-game mark with the 1953-54 team.
The Rams have established a new program record by winning 23 straight home games at Moby Arena dating back to November of 2011. The streak currently ranks fourth nationally behind Syracuse (34), Kansas (32) and South Dakota State (25), entering Saturday's home contest vs. UNLV.
Colorado State ranks as the No. 5 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 43.0 rebounds per game, and entered play this week leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 14.1 boards per game. The team has yet to be outrebounded in a game this year.
The Rams have been impressive at home in 2012-13, racking up a 10-0 mark and extending a record win streak at Moby Arena to 23 games. The streak ranks fourth nationally entering the Rams next home game on Wednesday vs. Air Force.
Colorado State has opened the 2012-13 campaign with a 2-3 record on the road, picking up tough road wins at Denver and at Washington, before falling in their last three true road outings at Colorado, UIC and then-No. 16/15 San Diego State (overtime). The Rams were 3-9 on the road in 2011-12.
Overall, the Rams are 4-3 away from Moby Arena, having captured a pair of neutral-court victories over Portland and Virginia Tech en route to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic title, Dec. 22-23 at the Orleans Arena.
Colorado State recorded a school-record 13 non-conference victories in 2012-13, besting the mark of 11 set in 1997-98 and matched in 2002-03, 2005-06 and 2011-12.
The Rams have won three straight games against Ranked opponents at Moby Arena entering Saturday's game against RV/23 UNLV. Last year, CSU defended its home court against ranked opponents from San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV.
The Runnin' Rebels, ranked No. 23 in the latest USA Today Coaches Top-25 poll, enter Saturday's contest with a 15-3 record, including a 2-1 start to the Mountain West action, following an 82-75 road victory at No. 15/14 San Diego State on Wednesday night.
Each of UNLV's three losses on the season have been by six or fewer points - vs. Oregon (83-79), at North Carolina (79-73) and at then-No. 25/RV New Mexico (65-60) in its Mountain West opener.
UNLV owns a 4-2 record on the road this season, with wins over No. 15/14 San Diego State, UTEP, California and Portland, and losses at North Carolina and at then No. 25/RV New Mexico.
Mountain West Preseason Freshman of the Year Anthony Bennett leads the Runnin' Rebels with 19.0 points per game, but was held to nine points in UNLV's win at San Diego State on Wednesday.
Bennett also leads the team in rebounding (8.9) and blocks (1.27). His 56.4 percent shooting on the year trails only CSU's Colton Iverson for highest in the MW.
Senior guard Anthony Marshall, who leads the league in assists (5.9), is coming off a season-high 20 point effort against the Aztecs.
UNLV (77.8) and CSU (75.0) rank second and third in the MW, respectively, in scoring offense, and first and second in defensive field goal percentage. The Runnin' Rebels have held opponents to just 37.8 percent shooting, while the Rams have contained their opposition to 38.3 percent.
Head Coach Dave Rice is in his second year with the Runnin' Rebels; he has recorded a 41-12 mark since taking over the reins at his alma mater where he won a national championship as a player in 1990.
Rice's squad is tied with the University of Pittsburgh for third in the nation in assists per game, averaging 18.4 helpers per outing. Only the University of Ohio and Notre Dame have more.
The Runnin' Rebels have now been ranked in the top 25 in either the AP or Coaches Poll for 24 straight weeks.
Series vs. UNLV
Saturday's game between the Rams and the Runnin' Rebels marks the 44th in the series between the programs.
UNLV holds a 33-10 advantage in the all-time series.
The Rams and Runnin' Rebels first met on the hardwood on Jan. 12, 1979, a 90-85 UNLV victory in Fort Collins.
The Rams are 6-14 all-time in home games against the Rebels.
The long-time conference rivals have competed 35 times as members of the WAC and Mountain West.
As charter members of the Mountain West, the Rams and Runnin' Rebels have competed 29 times, with UNLV holding a 22-7 advantage.
Perhaps Colorado State's biggest win in the series came during the Mountain West tournament when the Rams defeated the host Rebels in the championship game at the Thomas & Mack Center to secure the league's automatic bid to the 2003 NCAA tournament.
A win over UNLV will...
Extend the program record for consecutive home wins to 24. The streak ranks as the fourth-longest in the nation.
Give the Rams 10 straight home victories over Mountain West opponents.
Notch the Rams' fourth straight home victory over a ranked opponent, and the first this season. In 2011-12, the Rams recorded home wins over ranked teams from San Diego State (13/12), New Mexico (18/21) and UNLV (17/17).
Mark the Rams' second consecutive victory over UNLV, both coming at Moby Arena.
Make the Rams 2-1 in conference play for the fourth consecutive season.
Move CSU to 2-0 at home in conference play for the third straight year.
Improve CSU's all-time record against UNLV to 11-33, and 7-14 in Fort Collins.
Increase CSU's overall record to 15-3, tying the school record for the best mark through 18 games, matching the Rams' start to the 1997-98 season.
Hornung top offensive rebounder in nation
Colorado State senior F Pierce Hornung ranks as the top offensive rebounder in the nation entering Saturday's game vs. UNLV.
Hornung, a 6-5 product from Arvada, Colo., pulls down an NCAA-leading 4.80 offensive rebounds per game, well ahead the MW's No. 2 performer on the offensive glass, UNLV's Anthony Bennett (3.00 per game).
Nationally, Hornung ranks ahead of Notre Dame's Jack Cooley (4.71), South Alabama's Augustin Rubit (4.56), Siena's O.D. Anosike (4.47) and Murray State's Ed Daniel (4.19) who round out the top five.
Colorado State ranks among the nation's most experienced teams, and is the top-rated team in the Mountain West in terms of average class year per minute played, according to StatSheet.com.
The Rams average of 3.42 ranks fourth in the country behind Valparaiso (3.75), Middle Tennessee State (3.51) and Ohio (3.47).
Combined, the top four schools have a 53-17 record (.757) record.
The No. 2-rated MW program is Air Force (3.24) at No. 19 on the list.
Rams boast NCAA's top rebounding tandem
Colorado State's senior frontcourt of Pierce Hornung and Colton Iverson ranks as the No. 1 rebounding tandem in the country, combining to average 19.1 rebounds per game entering Saturday's contest at San Diego State.
Hornung leads the Rams, pulling down 10.3 rebounds per contest, while Iverson pulls down 8.9 boards per game.
That total is now tied for ninth in program history for wins in a four-year period, just six victories away from the top five (75 wins) recorded in 1994-95.
The school record for wins in a four-year period is 81 victories from 1987-88 to 1990-91. The team would need 26 wins in 2012-13 to tie that record, and entered this year 20 wins away from the top-5 on that list of most successful four-year periods in program history.
Streaking at home
Colorado State's current 23-game home-court win streak ranks fourth nationally entering the Rams' home contest against UNLV on Saturday night.
The Rams' Nov. 15 victory over Chadron State (93-50), the team's 15th straight at home, established a new Moby Arena record for the program, which the Rams have since extended to 23 games.
The Rams' Jan. 16 victory over Air Force (79-40), the team's 23rd straight at home, established a new program record, eclipsing the old mark set from 1960-62 when the program called South College Gym home.
The Colorado State men's basketball team travels south to Albuquerque, N.M., for a mid-week tilt against No. 19/21 New Mexico at The Pit.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Lobos is set for 6 p.m. MT and the game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.
The Rams split with the Lobos in 2011-12, falling at unranked New Mexico, 85-52, in the first matchup before defeating the No. 18/21-ranked Lobos, 71-63, at Moby Arena.