The Colorado State men’s basketball plays the second of back-to-back road games, traveling to Las Vegas, Nev., for a matchup against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.
The 21-4 (8-2 MW) Rams, ranked 22nd in the AP poll and 21st in the USA Today top-25 poll, have won six straight - including three consecutive road games - entering Wednesday’s matchup at UNLV. Last week, the Rams defeated (RV/22) San Diego State at home, before going on the road to hold on for an 89-86 win over Air Force. The win allowed the Rams to keep pace, a half game behind conference-leading No. 16/16 New Mexico.
UNLV (19-7, 6-5 MW) has gone 4-3 since falling, 66-61 at Moby Arena on Jan. 19. All of the Runnin’ Rebels wins during that stretch have come at home vs. Wyoming (62-50), Nevada (66-54) and New Mexico (64-55) and San Diego State (72-70).
Tipoff between the Rams and the Runnin’ Rebels is set for 8 p.m. MT at the Thomas & Mack Center, and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Colorado State has won two straight against UNLV entering Wednesday’s matchup, both at Moby Arena. The Rams are looking for their first win at UNLV since 2011, and their first season sweep of the Rebels since 2000-01.
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 1,150-1,174 (.495) in 2,324 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 Saturday’s game with an 21-4 record (8-2 MW), the program’s second consecutive 20-win season and the eighth in program history. The Rams are now approaching the program record for victories in a season, 23, set in 1988-89.
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 21-4 mark ties the 1953-54 squad for best in school history through 25 games.
The Rams have built a program record by winning 27 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 (37) and South Dakota State (30).
Colorado State ranks as the No. 1 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 42.3 boards per game, and enters Wednesday’s game at UNLV 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 14-0 mark and extending a record win streak at Moby Arena to 27 games. The streak ranks third nationally entering the Rams’ Feb. 23 game vs. No. 16/16 New Mexico.
Colorado State is 5-4 on the road in 2012-13, the most road wins for the Rams since going 6-5 away from home, including a win at UNLV (78-63). The Rams have three road games remaining on the 2012-13 schedule.
Overall, the Rams are 7-4 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 at UNLV as one of six teams in the country to rank in the top-50 in the nation in both scoring offense (42nd) and scoring defense (47th). CSU joins Florida, Louisville, Southern Miss, Syracuse and Weber State.
The Rams have won six straight conference games entering Wednesday’s showdown at UNLV, the program’s longest regular-season win streak against conference opponents since the 1988-89 team won nine straight in WAC play. CSU’s previous long streak in the Mountain West was four straight games in the league’s inaugural season, 1999-2000.
The Runnin’ Rebels enter Wednesday’s contest tied for third in the Mountain West standings (with San Diego State and Air Force), behind second-place Colorado State, with a 19-7 overall record and including a 6-5 mark in league action.
The Rebels are coming off of a 72-70 home win over San Diego State, and have won 13 straight at the Thomas & Mack Center, since an 83-79 loss to Oregon on Nov. 23.
Wednesday’s game will be a battle for the boards as UNLV ranks second in the conference in rebounding margin (+4.5), trailing only Colorado State (+13.6). The Rams (28.1 per game) and Runnin’ Rebels (27.7) also rank first and second, respectively, in defensive rebounding.
UNLV paces the league in two other categories, blocked shots (5.8) and assists (16.2). Throughout the 2012-13 season the Runnin’ Rebels are averaging 17.0 helpers per outing, the fifth-best mark in the nation.
Senior guard Anthony Marshall leads the conference in assists per game, dishing out 6.8 per contest. Marshall’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.3 is the third-best mark in the MW.
Marshall had a season-high 21 points in the first meeting between the Rams and Runnin’ Rebels on Jan. 19.
Sophomore forward Khem Birch, who has blocked 30 shots during conference play, ranks first in the category.
Mountain West Preseason Freshman of the Year Anthony Bennett leads the Runnin’ Rebels in scoring (15.3) and rebounding (8.3) during conference play. Bennett has connected on 50.8 percent of his attempts since the beginning of the MW season, the best mark in conference.
Head Coach Dave Rise is in his second year with the Runnin’ Rebels; he has recorded a 44-16 mark since taking over the reins at his alma mater where he won a national championship as a player in 1990.
Series vs. UNLV
Wednesday’s game between the Rams and Runnin’ Rebels marks the 45th in the series between the programs.
UNLV holds a 33-11 advantage in the all-time series and an 18-4 edge in Las Vegas.
Colorado State’s last road win against UNLV came Jan. 19, 2011 when the Rams defeated the Rebels by a 78-63 final.
The Rams and Runnin’ Rebels first met on the hardwood on Jan. 12, 1979, a 90-85 UNLV victory in Fort Collins.
The long-time conference rivals have competed 36 times as members of the WAC and Mountain West.
As charter members of the Mountain West, the Rams and Runnin’ Rebels have competed 30 times, with UNLV holding a 22-9 advantage.
Perhaps Colorado State’s biggest win in Las Vegas and 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...
Improve CSU’s record against the Runnin’ Rebels to 12-33 and give the Rams’ their first regular-season sweep of UNLV since the 2000-01 season.
Give the Rams a 5-18 all-time record at UNLV.
Be the Rams’ 22nd victory, matching the second-most wins in school history. The 1953-54 and 1987-88 teams also recorded 22 victories, each advancing to postseason play.
Pull the Rams within two victories of setting the school record for most wins in a season. The 1988-89 squad totaled 23 wins en route to a Western Athletic Conference championship and trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Improve the Rams’ current win streak to seven games, the second time this season the Rams have strung together seven or more wins in a row, and the Rams’ longest win streak against conference opponents since winning nine straight vs. the WAC in 1988-89.
Make CSU 9-2 in conference play for the first time as a member of the Mountain West. The last time CSU began league play 9-2 was as a member of the Mountain States Conference during the 1961-62 season.
Move CSU’s overall record to 22-4, tying the 1953-54 team for the best mark through 26 games.
Make the 2012-13 squad the fastest CSU team to reach 22 wins in a season. The 1953-54 team won its 22nd on Feb. 27.
Be the fourth consecutive win on the road. The Rams last won four consecutive road games between Jan. 19 and Feb. 16, 2011 (at UNLV, Utah, Wyoming and TCU).
Rams in elite company
Entering Wednesday’s game at UNLV, CSU is one of six programs nationally to rank in the top-50 in both scoring offense (42nd) and scoring defense (47th).
Other schools to rank among the national leaders on both lists are: Florida (36th offense/3rd defense), Louisville (40/22), Southern Miss. (39/43), Syracuse (33/30) and Weber State (22/50).
20 and counting
Colorado State captured its 20th victory of the season Feb. 13 vs. San Diego State, marking the second-consecutive season with 20 victories, and the eighth overall in program history.
Five of the previous seven 20-win seasons have ended in NCAA tournament berths, while the 1996-97 Rams finished 20-9 and made a trip to the NIT. The 1997-98 squad also finished 20-9 but did not play in the postseason.
CSU’s school record for victories in a season is 23 set during the 1988-89 season.
Noting Eustachy’s first year in MW
Having led Colorado State to the 20-victory plateau following the Rams’ Feb .13 victory over San Diego State, CSU head coach Larry Eustachy became the seventh head coach in MW history to accomplish that feat in his first year in the league.
Other MW head coaches to have 20-win seasons in their inaugural campaigns are: Ray Giacoletti (29-6 in 2004-05 at Utah), Dave Rice (26-9 in 2011-12 at UNLV), Jeff Bzdelik (24-7 in 2005-06 at Air Force), Steve Alford (24-9 in 2007-08 at New Mexico), Larry Shyatt (21-12 in 2011-12 at Wyoming) and Dave Rice (20-9 in 2005-06 at BYU).
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 3.47 ranks fourth nationally behind Valparaiso (3.77), Middle Tennessee St. (3.52) and Ohio (3.48).
Combined, the top four schools are 83-21 (.798) this season.
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 at UNLV.
Hornung, a 6-5 product from Arvada, Colo. Pulls down an average of 4.39 offensive rebounds per game, well ahead of the MW’s No. 2 performer on the offensive glass, Boise State’s Ryan Watkins (3.29 per game).
Nationally, Hornung ranks just behind Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley (4.46), and South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit (4.45), and ahead of North Carolina-Wilmington’s Keith Rendleman (4.23). Tulane’s Josh Davis (4.0) and UC-Santa Barbara’s Alan Williams (4.0) who round out the top five.
Hornung’s 101 offensive rebounds in 23 games, have accounted for 119 second-chance points, or 34 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 (2.9) and Greg Smith (2.6) rank tied for 82nd and 164th 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. 17.
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 19.2 rebounds per game entering Wednesday’s contest at UNLV.
Iverson and Hornung are tied for the team lead, each pulling down 9.6 rebounds per game, making the duo the only teammates in the country average more than 9.0 rebounds per game apiece.
That total is now fifth in program history for wins in a four-year period, eclipsing the win total put up by the program from 1994-95 to 1997-98 (75).
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.
The school record for wins in a single season is 23 set during the 1988-89 campaign.
The importance of road wins
CSU Head Coach Larry Eustachy has stressed the importance of road wins to his team since stepping on campus for the first time last April.
Entering the 2012-13 season, Eustachy was 84-152 (.356) in his career in road contests, but his win percentage on the road jumps to .525 (42-38) in seasons that he has led his programs to the postseason.
In four seasons that ended in NCAA Tournament appearances at Southern Miss (2011-12), Iowa State (1999-00 and 2000-01) and Utah State (1997-98), Eustachy’s programs were an impressive 26-20 (.565) on the road.
Colorado State is 5-4 (.556) on the road this season, following the Rams’ last road outing, an 89-86 victory at Air Force.
In 2011-12, under Tim Miles, the Rams earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney despite a 3-9 road record.
No. 22/21 Colorado State (21-4, 8-2 MW) returns home to Fort Collins for a showdown against conference leader and 16th-ranked New Mexico (22-4, 9-2 MW).
Tipoff between the Rams and the Lobos is set for 2 p.m. MT at Moby Arena, and the game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.
New Mexico captured the first meeting between the programs, holding on for a 66-61 victory at The Pit on Jan. 23. The game was the Rams’ last loss, as CSU has rattled off six straight wins - entering Wednesday’s tilt at UNLV - since the team’s setback vs. the Lobos.