The 23-7 (10-5 MW) Rams, receiving votes in both national polls, are tied for second in the MW standings and are looking to set a new school record with a 24th victory on the season. The Rams are 6-1 at home in Mountain West action, and 15-1 overall in the friendly confines of Moby Arena.
Nevada (12-17, 3-12 MW) is ninth in the Mountain West standings. The Wolf Pack enters Saturday’s game looking to snap a six-game losing streak. The team’s last win came Feb. 9 at home vs. Air Force. (74-69).
Tipoff between the Rams and the Wolf Pack is set for 6:30 p.m. MT at Moby Arena. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.
Colorado State came from behind to earn a road victory at Nevada on Feb. 6, thanks to a double-double performance of 28 points and 12 rebounds from senior forward Greg Smith. Pierce Hornung played just three minutes due to illness, but the Rams were able to overcome the Wolf Pack after trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half of the contest. Colton Iverson added 10 points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Rams.
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 1,152-1,177 (.495) in 2,329 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 a 23-7 record (10-5 MW), the program’s second consecutive 20-win season and the eighth in program history.
Colorado State has tied the program record for wins in a season (23 set in 1988-89) and has its sights set on establishing a new program mark with a victory over Nevada in the regular-season finale.
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. CSU reached 13-2 to close non-conference play, tying the program’s best 15-game mark, with the 1953-54 team. CSU’s 23-7 mark is the best record in program history through 28 games. Only the 1988-89 team won as many games, finishing with a 23-10 record.
From Nov. 21, 2011, an 85-75 win over UTSA, to Feb. 23, 2012, a 66-60 win over No. RV/22 San Diego State, Colorado State men’s basketball won 27 consecutive home games at Moby Arena, a program record for consecutive home victories. The streak grew to be the third-longest active streak in the nation before the Rams’ loss to then-No. 16/16 New Mexico (91-82) on Feb. 23.
Colorado State entered play this week ranked as the No. 4 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 41.1 boards per game, leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 12.2 rebounds per game. The team has outrebounded its opponents in 28 of 30 contests this season.
The Rams have been impressive at home in 2012-13, racking up a 15-1 mark at Moby Arena. With one home games remaining on the schedule, the Rams tied the Moby Arena record for most wins in a season (15 in 1987-88) and have an opportunity to set the best single-season win percentage at Moby (14-1, .933 in 2011-12).
Colorado State is 6-6 on the road in 2012-13, the most road wins for the Rams since going 6-5 away from home in 2010-11.
Overall, the Rams are 8-6 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 in Las Vegas, Nev.
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 Wolf Pack enter Saturday’s matchup alone in ninth place in the Mountain West standings with 12-17 overall record and 3-12 mark in conference play.
The Wolf Pack are 1-6 on the road in conference play, with the sole victory coming on Jan. 19 at Fresno State 68-61. Nevada is 2-10 away from Lawlor Events Center on the year with the additional victory coming against Washington (Dec .8).
Nevada has lost six straight, last winning at home against Air Force Feb. 9.
The Wolf Pack own the third best free throw shooting percentage in the conference, connecting on 72.3 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.
Nevada allows its opponents to shoot a Mountain West high of 47.0 percent from the field through conference play.
Senior guard Malik Story leads the team in scoring (16.6) and field goal percentage (39.8). Those marks rank as fourth and sixth, respectively, in the Mountain West.
Story leads the Mountain West in three-pointers made, hitting 42 throughout conference play. Story tied a season-high seven made three-pointers against Colorado State in the first meeting between the two schools on Feb. 6.
Junior guard Jerry Evans Jr. leads the team in rebounding, grabbing 5.9 per conference game, tied for the ninth-highest total in the MW.
Head Coach David Carter owns a 74-56 record during his four years at the school.
Series vs. Nevada
Saturday’s game between the Rams and Wolf Pack marks the 12th in the series between the programs, dating back to the first meeting - a 42-32 Nevada home win - Dec. 20, 1946.
Nevada holds a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series.
The Rams and Wolf Pack are tied 2-2 in games played in Fort Collins. Nevada won the most recent matchup in Moby 82-76 on Dec. 2, 2008.
CSU, which won the first meeting of the season at Nevada (73-69) on Feb. 6, has not defeated the Wolf Pack twice in a row since the 1997-98 (63-60) and 1998-99 (66-49) seasons.
A win over Nevada will...
Be a program record 24th win, surpassing the previous high set by the 1988-89 squad that totaled 23 wins en route to a Western Athletic Conference championship and trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Mark the Rams’ 11th conference victory, establishing a record for the team as a member of the Mountain West, and tying the most since CSU won 11 during the 1995-96 season as a member of the WAC.
Even the series record at 6-6 and improve the Rams mark against the Wolf Pack in Moby to 3-2.
Mark CSU’s second consecutive win over Nevada, the first time the Rams have done so since the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.
Give the Rams their 16th home victory, tying the 1987-88 squad for the most wins at home in program history.
Secure either a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in next week’s Mountain West tournament, depending upon the result of UNLV’s home contest vs. Fresno State.
Eustachy with chance to make history
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy has an opportunity to not only lead the Rams to a school-record 24th victory on Saturday, but also has a chance to do something that no other coach in NCAA history has.
With a win, Eustachy would be the first coach in NCAA Division I history to win at least 24 games in a single season with five different DI programs.
Eustachy is currently one of just three coaches - along with Tim Floyd and Cliff Ellis - to ever take four different DI programs to 24 or more wins in a single season.
Eustachy, who has 11 total 20-win seasons in his career, reached the 24-victory plateau in 1992-93 at Idaho (24-8), 1997-98 at Utah State (25-8), 2011-12 at Southern Miss (25-9) and twice at Iowa State in 1999-00 (32-5) and 2000-01 (25-6).
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.
School-record win total
The Rams captured their school-record tying 23rd victory on Wednesday at Wyoming (78-56), and enter Saturday’s regular-season finale against Nevada with a chance to break the mark.
The record was originally set during the 1988-89 season, when the program went 23-10 and made the first of two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
20-win debut seasons 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 3.48 ranks fourth nationally behind Valparaiso (3.78), Middle Tennessee St. (3.53) and Ohio (3.49).
Combined, the top four schools are 96-26 (.787) this year.
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 18.9 rebounds per game entering Saturday’s contest vs. Nevada.
Iverson leads the Rams averaging 9.7 rebounds per game but Hornung is just behind him pulling down 9.2, making the duo the only teammates in the country averaging more than 9.0 boards per game apiece.
A winning era
Colorado State’s fourth-year seniors – Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith – have been a part of 78 wins during their careers at CSU (entering Saturday’s regular-season finale vs. Nevada).
That total is now third in program history for wins in a four-year period, on win behind the No. 2 mark in program history (79) sete from 1986-87 to 1989-90
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 2012-13 team has tied the record for wins in a single season (23) matching the 1988-89 squad.
Colorado State (23-7, 10-5 MW) heads to Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2013 Reese’s Mountain West Basketball Championships, March 12-16 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Rams will open play in the quarterfinals as either the No. 2, 3 or 4 seed depending on the results of Saturday’s Mountain West finales for UNLV (vs. Fresno State) and San Diego State (at Boise State).