The Colorado State men’s basketball team continues it’s record-breaking season this week, travelling to Lexington, Ky., to compete in the second and third rounds of the 2013 NCAA Championship Tournament at famed Rupp Arena.
No. 8-seeded Colorado State (MW, at-large) will match up against No. 9 seeded Missouri (SEC, at-large) in the second round of the of the tournament.
The 25-8 (11-5 MW) Rams, receiving votes in both national polls, are making their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and their 10th overall in program history.
Colorado State finished second in the Mountain West regular-season standings, and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament after falling at UNLV (75-65) on Friday in the semifinals of the Mountain West Championships.
Missouri (23-10, 11-7 SEC) is making its fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, and the program’s 26th overall appearance in the field.
The Tigers finished the season tied for fifth in the Southeastern Conference, and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament after losing in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament to eventual champion Ole Miss.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Tigers is set for approximately 9:20 p.m. ET/7:20 p.m. MT, following the conclusion of the first game of the session between No. 1-seeded Louisville and either 16th-seeded North Carolina A&T or Liberty.
The game will be televised live nationally on TBS, with Ian Eagle (play-by-play) Jim Spanarkel (color analyst) and Allie LaForce (sideline) calling the action.
The contest marks just the third all-time between the programs, and the first since the late 1960s.
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 is available via Rams All-Access and live statistics can be viewed online via GameTracker at CSURams.com.
Not only will #RamsMadness serve as the official Twitter hash tag for Colorado State men’s basketball throughout the 2013 postseason, but the slogan also serves as the basis for two Web sites that will give fans the most accurate and up-to-date information on the team throughout its NCAA tournament run.
Colorado State University’s #RamsMadness page, www.colostate.edu/RamsMadness, will feature updated photo galleries and video, while integrating both Twitter and Facebook, to allow fans 24-7 access to all things CSU throughout the postseason.
In addition, CSURams.com will feature the #RamsMadness NCAA Tournament Central Page, which includes all the pertinent game information for each of the Rams’ matchups, including links to both school’s rosters, schedules, statistics and news, while integrating with the NCAA’s interactive tournament bracket and GameTracker features.
Rams quick hits
The 2012-13 season marks the 110th in the history of the Colorado State men’s basketball program. The Rams are 1,154-1,178 (.495) in 2,332 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 making its fourth consecutive postseason appearance, and its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013.
The Rams returned an experienced roster in 2012-13, including six letterwinners back form the 2011-12 NCAA qualifying squad.
The Rams also welcomed 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. Both have played key roles in the Rams’ success in 2012-13, and were named the Mountain West Newcomer of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year, respectively.
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 Thursday’s game with a 25-8 record (11-5 MW), the program’s second consecutive 20-win season and the eighth in program history.
Colorado State’s 25 victories are a program record, surpassing the mark of 23 wins set the 1988-89 program that went 23-10.
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.
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 enters play this week ranked as the No. 4 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 40.4 boards per game, leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 12.1 rebounds per game. The Rams allow opponents to pull down just 28.4 rebounds per game, the second best mark in the nation. The team has outrebounded its opponents in 30 of 33 contests this season.
The Rams were impressive at home in 2012-13, racking up a school-record mark of 16-1 at Moby Arena. The 16 home victories established a new mark for most home wins in a single-year, surpassing the 15 home wins by the 1987-88 squad.
Colorado State is 6-7 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 9-7 away from Moby Arena, having captured three neutral-court victories this season. The Rams earned 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, before downing Fresno State, 67-61, in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Reese’s Mountain West Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center.
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 No. 9 seeded Tigers enter the 2013 NCAA tournament as an at-large bid having with a 23-10 season record and 11-7 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
The Tigers are making their fifth-straight and 26th overall NCAA Tournament appearance.
Last season the No. 2 seeded Tigers lost in the opening round of the tournament 86-84 to No. 15-seeded Norfolk State.
Mizzou, which entered the SEC tournament as a six seed, defeated Texas A&M 62-50 in the second round, before falling to eventual champion Ole Miss, 64-62, in the quarterfinals.
The Tigers are 6-10 in games played away from Mizzou Arena during the 2012-13 season, losing two of their last three away from home.
Mizzou boasts one of the nation’s most balance scoring attacks, with six players averaging double figures on the season.
Senior forward Laurence Bowers, who was named second-team all –SEC, leads the Tigers in scoring, averaging 14.4 per game, while shooting 54.8 percent from the field.
Junior first-team all-SEC selection Phil Pressey dished out a school-record 233 assists during the 2012-13 season. Pressey has averaged 8.0 assists per game during his last eight outings.
Senior forward Alex Oriakhi grabbed a team-high 8.6 rebounds per game over the 2012-13 season. Oriakhi ranks seventh nationally in field goal percentage, connecting on 62.9 percent of his attempts.
Sophomore guard Jabari Brown, who sat out the first half of the season due to NCAA transfer rules, leads the team in three-pointers, with 53. Brown averaged 14.6 points per game during SEC play, the seventh-highest total in the conference.
As a team Mizzou finished second in the SEC in scoring offense, averaging 76.2 per conference outing.
The Tigers led the SEC in free throw percentage (73.9), offensive rebounding (13.7), defensive rebounding (27.7) and rebounding margin (+9.6).
Thursday will mark the second time this season Mizzou has played at Rupp Arena. The Tigers fell 90-83 in overtime to Kentucky on Feb. 23.
Head Coach Frank Haith has compiled a 53-12 record during his two seasons at Mizzou.
Series vs. Missouri
Thursday’s matchup in the NCAA tournament second round marks just the second in the series between Colorado State and Missouri. The series is knotted, 1-1.
Colorado State defeated Missouri in the initial meeting, a 64-52 CSU victory coming in Fort Collins on Dec. 16, 1967.
The Tigers avenged the loss two seasons later, winning at home 81-55 on Dec. 17, 1969.
Head Coach Larry Eustachy is 5-6 all-time against Missouri, including a 0-1 mark on neutral courts.
Rams vs. the SEC
Thursday’s matchup will be CSU’s first against an SEC team since the Rams defeated Ole Miss 68-61 in the semifinal round of the Cancun Governor’s Cup on Dec. 23, 2010 in Cancun, Mexico.
CSU has won three of its last five outings against teams from the Southeastern Conference. Including the Rams’ victory over Ole Miss in 2010, the team has also defeated South Carolina in Moby Arena, 81-67, on Dec. 22, 2002 and Auburn at home, 77-67, on Nov. 28, 2005.
A win over Missouri will...
Extend the program record for wins in a season to 26, three more than 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.
Give the Colorado State program 81 victories in the last four years, tying the program’s all-time mark for wins in a four-year period (1987-88 to 1990-91).
Improve Colorado State’s record to 2-1 all-time against the Tigers.
Make the Rams 4-2 in their last six outings against SEC teams, including two consecutive victories (Ole Miss 64-52 on Dec. 16, 1967).
Advance the Rams to the round of 32 for the third time in program history. The 1988-89 CSU squad won its opening round matchup, 68-46, over Florida, before falling to Syracuse, 65-50, in its next outing. In 1968-69 CSU won its first two NCAA tournament matchups over Dayton (52-50) and Colorado (64-56), before falling to Drake, 84-77, in the Elite Eight.
Move Colorado State to 4-10 in the NCAA tournament and 3-7 in the opening round.
Eustachy makes history
Colorado State Head Coach Larry Eustachy not only led the Rams to a school-record 24th victory on March 9 against Nevada, but also made NCAA history.
With the win, Eustachy, who led the Rams to a 25-8 overall record during the 2012-13 regular season, became the first coach in NCAA Division I history to win at least 24 games in a single season with five different DI programs.
Eustachy was 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, previously 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).
Rams’ Award Winners
Several Colorado State players have begun to rack up postseason honors heading into play at the 2013 NCAA Championship tournament.
Senior center Colton Iverson earned first-team All-MW honors, and was selected as the league’s Newcomer of the Year. He was named by the Denver Post as the Region’s Player of the Year, and also garnered USBWA All-District VIII honors.
Senior guard Dorian Green earned his second consecutive all-conference nod, pulling in second-team honors in 2013 after a third-team recognition as a junior in 2012.
Senior forward Pierce Hornung was named to the Mountain West all-defensive team for the second straight season, and also earned a second-consecutive third-team all-MW selection in 2013.
Senior guard Wes Eikmeier, a first-team All-Mountain West performer as a junior in 2012, as named to 2013 MW all-league honorable mention.
Sophomore guard Daniel Bejarano has been tabbed as the conference’s top reserve, taking home honors as the Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year. He is the second Ram to win the award in three seasons (Pierce Hornung in 2011).
A winning era
Colorado State’s fourth-year seniors – Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith – have been a part of 80 wins during their careers at CSU (entering Thursday’s second-round matchup with Missouri).
That total is now second in program history for wins in a four-year period, one victory behind the record mark of 81 set from 1987-88 to 1990-91.
The 2012-13 team has set a new school record for wins in a single season (25) surpassing the 23 victories by the 1988-89 squad.
Four straight postseason berths
With the selection of the 2013 Colorado State Rams to the NCAA tournament field, the team became the first in program history to reach four consecutive postseason appearances, and just the third all-time to attain three straight years in either the NIT or NCAA tournament fields.
CSU’s fourth-year seniors - Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith - are the first players in the history of CSU basketball to play beyond the regular-season in four consecutive years, having been selected to play in the 2010 College Basketball Invitational, 2011 National Invitation Tournament and the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Tournaments.
CSU has made three straight postseason appearances three times in program history, under head coaches Jim Williams (1961-63), Boyd Grant (1988-90).
First-year Head Coach Larry Eustachy caps a run of four straight postseason appearances for the Rams, a streak which began with Tim Miles from 2009-10 to 2011-12.
CSU (25-8, 11-5 MW) looks to advance to the third round of the 2013 NCAA Championship tournament, where they would face off against the winner of the second-round matchup between No. 1 Louisville and either No. 16 North Carolina A&T or Liberty (coached by former CSU mentor Dale Layer).
Should the Rams advance, the third-round game would take place on March 23, with the tip time still to be determined.