The Colorado State men’s basketball returns to the court, after an idle weekend in the schedule to open the second half of Mountain West play at home against league preseason favorite San Diego State.
The 19-4 (6-2 MW) Rams, ranked 24th in both the AP and USA Today top-25 polls, are coming off of a 73-69 road win over Nevada, led by a double-double performances from Greg Smith (career-high 28 points and 12 rebounds) and Colton Iverson (10 points and a career-high 16 rebounds).
San Diego State (18-5, 6-3 MW) is ranked No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches top-25 poll, and has won two straight since suffering a 70-67 loss in its last road outing at Air Force on Feb. 2. Since that loss the Aztecs have won home games against Boise State (63-62) and Fresno State (75-53).
Tipoff between the Rams and the Aztecs is set for 8 p.m. MT at Moby Arena, and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
The game is the Rams’ fourth-annual “Orange Out” as the team will don the school’s original colors of “pumpkin” orange and “alfalfa” green and wear the program’s original mascot - Aggies - across their uniforms.
San Diego State held off the Rams in overtime, 79-72, in the first matchup of the season, Jan. 12 at Viejas Arena. CSU won the last matchup at Moby Arena, 77-60, on Jan. 28, 2012.
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), 105.5 FM KJAC (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 1,148-1,174 (.494) in 2,322 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 game against the Bahamas All-Stars, winning 95-80 behind a double-double (18 points, 14 rebounds) from Colton Iverson.
Colorado State enters Wednesday’s game with an 19-4 record (6-2 MW). 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, to close non-conference play. CSU’s 19-4 mark ties the 1953-54 squad for best record in school history through 23 games.
The Rams have built a program record by winning 26 straight home games at Moby Arena dating back to Nov. 19, 2011, a loss to Southern Miss. The streak currently ranks third nationally behind Syracuse (35) and South Dakota State (28).
Colorado State ranks as the No. 1 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 42.4 boards per game, and enters Wednesday’s game vs. SDSU leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 13.8 rebounds 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 12-0 mark and extending a record win streak at Moby Arena to 26 games. The streak ranks third nationally entering Wednesday’s game vs. San Diego State.
Colorado State is 4-4 on the road in 2012-13, eclipsing the team’s road wins total from 2011-12 (3-9) with four road games remaining on the schedule entering Saturday’s game at Air Force.
Overall, the Rams are 6-4 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.
Colorado State enters Wednesday’s game as one of seven teams in the country to rank in the top-50 in the nation in both scoring offense (50th) and scoring defense (38th). CSU joins Florida, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Southern Miss and Syracuse.
Noting the Orange Out
Wednesday’s game marks the fourth annual “Orange Out” of Moby Arena, a tradition which began in 2009-10.
The event pays tribute to the CSU’s heritage as the Colorado A&M Aggies, as the team and fans don the program’s original colors of “pumpkin” orange and “alfalfa” green.
Colorado State is 3-0 in “Orange Out” games: - 2010 vs. Wyoming (W, 80-64) - 2011 vs. New Mexico (W, 68-62) - 2012 vs. Wyoming (W, 54-46)
About San Diego State
The Aztecs enter Wednesday’s contest in third place in the Mountain West standings, a half game behind Colorado State, with an 18-5 record, including a 6-3 mark in league action, having four out of five coming into the contest.
SDSU has only played six true road games during the 2012-13 season, owning a 4-2 mark in those matchups, but the team has lost two of its last three on the road in conference play, winning at Nevada (78-57) between road losses vs. Wyoming (58-45) and Air Force (70-67).
The Rams and Aztecs have been two of the best teams offensively throughout conference play. Colorado State leads the league in scoring, averaging 70.9 points per game, while SDSU ranks in at third in the category scoring 66.9 per outing.
CSU (+10.8) and SDSU (+5.8) rank first and second, respectfully, in MW play for scoring margin. Seven of the Aztec’s victories have come by 20 or more points this season.
Jamaal Franklin paces the Mountain West in scoring, averaging 17.8 per game since the beginning of conference play. Franklin also ranks third in rebounding (8.8) and steals (1.6).
Through the first half of conference play Chase Tapley has recorded an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6 the best mark in the MW.
The Aztecs have held four of their last six opponents to under 60 points.
Head Coach Steve Fisher, who has won seven Mountain West championships during his 14 seasons at the school, owns a 276-165 with the Aztecs.
SDSU has been ranked in one of the two national top-25 polls for 27 consecutive regular season weeks.
Series vs. San Diego State
Wednesday’s game between the Rams and the Aztecs marks the 71st in the series between the programs, dating back to the first meeting - a 71-57 CSU road win - during the 1961-62 season.
Colorado State holds a 36-34 advantage in the all-time series, and a 23-9 mark in games played in Fort Collins. CSU is 9-22 against the Aztecs as members of the Mountain West conference.
The Rams and Aztecs split the series in 2011-12, each winning at home, with SDSU also capturing a neutral-court victory in the semifinals of the 2012 Mountain West tournament.
CSU fell in overtime, 79-72, at San Diego State in the first meeting this season, despite storming back from an 18-point halftime deficit to force the extra period.
Wednesday marks the first meeting between the Rams and Aztecs when both schools are ranked in the top 25, and is the only game nationally to feature two top-25 programs.
Wednesday’s game marks the seventh straight contest in the series in which San Diego State is ranked in either top-25 poll.
A win over San Diego State will...
Improve the Rams’ record against the Aztecs to 37-34 all-time and 24-9 in Fort Collins.
Mark the Rams’ 20th victory, matching last year’s win total, and giving the Rams’ at least 20 victories in a single season for the eighth time in program history.
Pull the Rams within three victories of matching the school record for most wins (23) in a season.
Extend the program record for consecutive home wins to 27. The streak ranks as the third-longest in the nation.
Move the Rams’ current win streak to five games, the third time this season CSU has strung together five or more wins in a row.
Make CSU 7-2 in conference play for the first time as a member of the Mountain West. The last time CSU began league play 7-2 was as a member of the WAC in 1997-98.
Move CSU’s overall record to 20-4, tying the 1953-54 team for the best mark through 24 games.
Make the 2012-13 squad the fastest CSU team to reach 20 victories in a season. The 1953-54 team won its 20th game on Feb. 20.
Improve Colorado State’s record to 5-0 at home to begin conference play for the second consecutive year. Prior to last season the Rams hadn’t started conference play 5-0 at home since the 1961-62 season when they competed in the Mountain States Conference.
Extend the Rams’ home win streak vs. ranked opponents to five straight games. The streak began last season with a 77-60 victory over then-No. 13/12 San Diego State.
Rams in elite company
Entering Wednesday’s game vs. San Diego State, CSU is one of seven programs nationally to rank in the top-50 in both scoring offense (50th) and scoring defense (38th).
Other schools to rank among the national leaders on both lists are: Florida (41st offense/4th defense), Kansas (42/40), Louisville (37/30), Michigan (21/T-42), Southern Miss. (47/37), and Syracuse (33/25).
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 3.45 ranks fourth in the country behind Valparaiso (3.76), Middle Tennessee State (3.51) and Ohio (3.48).
Combined, the top four schools have a 77-20 record (.794) record.
Hornung among nation’s top O-rebounders
Colorado State senior F Pierce Hornung ranks as the No. 3 offensive rebounder in the nation entering Wednesday’s game vs. San Diego State.
Hornung, a 6-5 product from Arvada, Colo. Pulls down an average of 4.33 offensive rebounds per game, well ahead of the MW’s No. 2 performer on the offensive glass, Boise State’s Ryan Watkins (3.4 per game).
Nationally, Hornung ranks just behind Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley (4.54), and South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit (4.39), and ahead of Murray State’s Ed Daniel (4.13), Siena’s O.D. Anosike (4.08) and Tulane’s Josh Davis (4.08 who round out the top five.
Hornung’s 91 offensive rebounds in 21 games, have accounted for 102 second chance points, or 32 percent of the Rams’ total second-chance points in those contests.
More on offensive boards
In addition to Hornung’s prowess of the offensive glass, senior frontcourt mates Colton Iverson (3.1) and Greg Smith (2.6) rank tied for 62 and tied for 174 respectively, in offensive boards per game.
Colorado State is the only team in the country to have three players listed in the top 200, through games played Feb. 10.
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 19.0 rebounds per game entering Wednesday’s contest vs. San Diego State.
Iverson leads the Rams, pulling down 9.7 rebounds per game, while Hornung averages 9.3, making the duo the only teammates in the country average more than 9.0 rebounds per game apiece.
A winning era
CSU’s fourth-year seniors – Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith – have been a part of 74 wins during their careers at Colorado State (entering Wednesday’s game vs. San Diego State).
That total is now sixth in program history for wins in a four-year period, just one wins away from the top five (75 wins), recorded from 1994-95 to 1997-98.
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 26-game home-court win streak ranks third nationally entering the Rams’ next home game on Wednesday vs. San Diego State.
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 26 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 Rams’ last home loss came Nov. 19, 2011 against Southern Miss.
The Colorado State men’s basketball team travels south on I-25 for a conference road matchup with the Air Force Falcons (14-8, 5-4 MW).
Tipoff between the Rams and the Falcons is set for 2 p.m. MT at Clune Arena, and the game will be televised on Altitude.
After falling to the Rams, 79-40 at Moby Arena on Jan. 16, the Falcons rattled off five straight victories, including a non-conference win over New Orleans, before dropping its two most recent MW games on the road at New Mexico (81-58) and at Nevada (74-69).