Colorado State men’s basketball advances to the championship round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
The 9-2 Ram will face a tough test in the title game, matching up against the ACC’s Virginia Tech Hokies, who enter the contest with and idential 9-2 mark to open the season.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Hokies is set for Sunday at 9:30 p.m. MT/8:30 p.m. PT at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
The contest will mark the first in the series between the Rams’ and the Hokies.
CSU is 3-0 in the tournament with wins over North Florida (83-55), CSU Bakersfield (78-58) and Portland (70-53), while VT is 2-1 with wins over Mississippi Valley State (70-49) and Bradley (66-65, OT) and a loss to Georgia Southern (78-73).
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), 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.
The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network with Jason Knapp (play-by-play), Steve Lappas and Doug Gottlieb (analysts) calling the action from courtside at the Orleans Arena.
Rams quick hits
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.
Colorado State enters Sunday’s game with a 9-2 record. 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 teams current mark is the best 11-game record since going 10-1 to open the 1997-98 season.
Colorado State ranks as one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, and entered play this week leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 16.1 boards per game. The team has yet to be outrebounded in a game this year, including the Rams’ most recent outing vs. Portland on Dec. 22.
Colorado State has opened the 2012-13 campaign with a 2-2 record on the road, picking up tough road wins at Denver and at Washington, before falling in their last two road outings at Colorado and UIC. The Rams were 3-9 on the road last year.
Colorado State’s two road loss (Colorado and UIC) have come to programs with a combined 18-5 (.783) record.
The Rams have been even more impressive at home, racking up six wins and extending a record win streak at Moby Arena to 19 games. The streak ranks fourth nationally entering the Rams’ tilt Dec. 29 vs. Adams State.
Senior C Colton Iverson racked up five consecutive double-doubles between Nov. 21 and Dec. 5. Entering play this week, Iverson was one of 23 players nationally to average a double-double through games played Dec. 17. Iverson enters Sunday’s matchup vs. Virginia Tech just shy of a double-double average with 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
Colorado State’s starting front court of Pierce Hornung (10.0), Colton Iverson (9.7) and Greg Smith (6.1 rpg) each entered play this weekend ranked in the top-10 in the Mountain West in rebounding.
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 contest against the Bahamas All-Stars, winning 95-80 behind a double-double effort (18 points, 14 rebounds) from Colton Iverson. The 2012-13 season marks the 110th in the history of the Colorado State men’s basketball program. The Rams are 1,138-1,172 (.493) in 2,310 games all-time.
About Virginia Tech
The Hokies own a 9-2 record including a 2-1 mark in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. The Hokies defeated Missippi Valley State (70-49) in Round 1, followed by a loss to Georgia Southern (78-73) before outlasting Bradley in overtime (66-65) in Saturday’s semifinal round.
The Hokies are 2-1 away from home to open the season, with wins at UNC-Greensboro (96-87) and vs. Bradley (66-65, OT) and a loss at West Virginia (68-67)
Virginia Tech’s lineup features three players - Erick Green (25.4 ppg), Jarell Eddie (15.1) and Robert Brown (11.0) who averaged double-figures scoring.
Green also leads the team with 51 assists, while Eddie ranks as the team’s leading rebounder (7.0 rpg) and three-point shooter - 25 treys on 44 percent from beyond the arc.
Head Coach James Johnson is in his first season with the Hokies. Johnson was previously an assistant for 19 seasons.
Series vs. Virginia Tech
Sunday’s matchup marks the first in the series between the Rams and the Hokies.
Rams vs. the ACC
Colorado State has played just seven games all-time against the 12 current members of the Atlantice Coast Conference, going 2-5 in those contests.
Most recently, CSU traveled to Durham, N.C., where they lost a hard-fought battle to perennial national power Duke, 87-64, on Dec. 7, 2011.
CSU is 1-2 all-time against ACC members on neutral floors, splitting two neutral-court meeting with Boston College, and dropping a neutral-court matchup to Duke in the 2003 NCAA tournament. The Rams’ neutral-court victory over Boston College came in the consolation game of the 1988 NIT, where the Rams edged the Eagles, 58-57, at Madison Square Garden.
CSU has also faced Florida State (0-1) once and North Carolina (1-1) twice.
The Rams’ last win over an ACC opponent came on the raod against then-No. 24-ranked North Carolina, a 78-67 victory on Dec. 29, 1989.
A win over Virginia Tech will...
Mark the Rams’ second neutral-court victory of the season. CSU enters Sunday with a 6-0 home record, a 2-2 road mark and a 1-0 tally on neutral courts.
Give the Rams a 1-0 lead in the series with Virginia Tech.
Mark the eighth consecutive victory for the Rams during regular-season tournaments. Since falling at Stanford in the second round of the 2011 Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, the Rams have defeated Manhattan and UTSA as part of the same tourney, downed UTEP and Jacksonville State during the 2011 Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, and picked up wins over North Florida, CSU Bakersfield and Portland in the first three rounds of the 2012 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
Give Colorado State its third holiday tournament title in the last three seasons, including the 2010 Cancun Governor’s Cup and the 2011 Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
Improve CSU’s overall record to 10-2, its best start through 12 games since the team opened the 1997-98 season with a 11-1 mark.
Mark the Rams’ victory victory over an ACC team since winning at No. 24-ranked North Carolina on Dec. 29, 1989 (78-67). The Rams have lost three straight to ACC foes, falling at No. 2 UNC in 1993-94, and losing to No. 12 Duke in the first round of the 2003 NCAA tournament, and at No. 7 Duke last December Cameron Indoor Stadium.