The Colorado State men’s basketball team continues play in the 2013 NCAA tournament, advancing to the third round of action at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
No. 8-seeded Colorado State (MW, at-large) will match up against the overall No. 1-seeded Missouri (Big East, automatic) in the Round of 32.
The 26-8 (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, looking to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1969.
Colorado State advanced to the third round of action with an 84-72 victory over No. 9-seeded Missouri in a second-round matchup on Thursday.
Louisville (30-5, 14-4 Big East) is making its 39th appearance in the NCAA tournament, and is in search of the program’s 19th Sweet 16 berth (second consecutive).
The Cardinals shared the Big East regular-season title with Georgetown, and earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with a dominating run to the conference tournament championship, that included double-figures victories over Villanova, Notre Dame and Syracuse.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Cardinals is set for 5:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. MT, on Saturday.
The game will be televised live nationally on CBS, with Ian Eagle (play-by-play) Jim Spanarkel (color analyst) and Allie LaForce (sideline) calling the action.
The contest marks the first all-time between the programs.
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 1,155-1,178 (.495) in 2,333 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 Saturday’s game with a 26-8 record (11-5 MW), the program’s second consecutive 20-win season and the eighth in program history.
Colorado State’s 26 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 31 of 34 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 10-7 away from Moby Arena, having captured four 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. The Rams also own an NCAA tournament win over Missouri in the second round of action Thursday in Lexington, Ky.
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. 1 overall seeded Cardinals entered 2013 NCAA tournament as the automatic bid out of the Big East Conference, and sit at 30-5 overall entering Saturday’s third-round action.
Louisville enters Saturday’s game as winners of 11 straight games.
The Cardinals are making their seventh-straight and 38th overall NCAA Tournament appearance.
Last season the No. 4 seed, Louisville lost in the Final Four 69-61 to the eventual national champions, Kentucky.
The Cardinals ran through the Big East tournament winning each game by an average of 16 points on their way to a conference championship.
The Cardinals are coming off a blowout win over the 16th-seeded North Carolina A&T Aggies. In the 79-48 victory, guard Russ Smith scored a game-high 23 points and had eight steals.
Louisville has one of the most talented point guards in the nation in Peyton Siva. Siva averages nearly 10 points and 6 assists per game. The senior was named the American Eagle Outfitters Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Junior center Gorgui Dieng was named the conferences defensive player of the year. On the season Dieng averaged 9.8 RPG and nearly 70 blocks.
Big East first-team guard Russ Smith leads the Cardinals pouring in 18.2 PPG. Smith has dished out over 100 helpers on the year.
Outside of Louisville the Cardinals have an impressive 15-4 record including four consecutive wins on a neutral court.
Series vs. Louisvill
Saturday’s meeting between the Rams and Cardinals in the third round of the NCAA tournament marks the first time Colorado State and Louisville have squared off on the hardwood.
CSU Head Coach Larry Eustachy last faced the Cardinals in 2004-05 season at Southern Miss., dropping a 107-62 decision.
Rams vs. the Big East
Colorado State is a combined 3-1 all-time against the current membership of the Big East Conference.
The Rams are 1-0 against Rutgers, defeating the Scarlet Knights, 67-66, during the 1968-69 season. The Rams’ also own two victories over South Florida, winning at home (82-70) in 2002-03, and at USF (66-65) in 2003-04.
The Rams’ lone loss against the Big East came during the 1989 NCAA tournament, when the Rams fell in the Round of 32 to second-seeded and fifth-ranked Syracuse (65-50).
A win over Louisville will...
Extend the program record for wins in a season to 27, four 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 82 victories in the last four years, setting a new program record mark for wins in a four-year period, surpassing the 81 wins by the Rams from 1987-88 to 1990-91.
Advance the Rams to the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history. In 1968-69 CSU won its first two NCAA tournament matchups over Dayton, 52-50, in the first round and Colorado, 64-56, in the Sweet 16, before falling to Drake, 84-77, in the Elite Eight.
Give the Rams their first victory over a top-25 program away from Moby Arena since defeating No. 25-ranked Air Force, 60-48, on March 11, 2004 in the first round of the Mountain West tournament at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.
Move Colorado State to 5-10 in the NCAA tournament.
School-record win total
The Rams captured their school-record 24th victory on March 9 against Nevada (77-66) in the regular-season finale, and extended the mark with a 26th victory vs. Missouri in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The old record of 23 was originally set during the 1988-89 season, when the program went 23-10 and made the first of two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
A winning era
Colorado State’s fourth-year seniors – Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith – have been a part of 81 wins during their careers at CSU (entering Saturday’s third-round matchup with Louisville).
That total is now tied for first in program history for wins in a four-year period, matching the record 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 (26) surpassing the 23 victories by the 1988-89 squad.
Below is a list of the top win totals in a four-year period in program history: Starting -- Ending (Wins) 1. 2008-09 -- Present (81) 2. 1987-88 -- 1990-91 (81) 3. 1986-87 -- 1989-90 (79)
CSU (26-8, 11-5 MW) looks to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA Championship tournament, where they would face off against the winner of the third-round matchup between No. 4 Saint Louis (27-6) and No. 12 Oregon (26-8).
Should the Rams advance, that regional semifinal game would take place on March 29, in Indianapolis, Ind., at Lucas Oil Stadium.