Its been a wild and bumpy ride to date for those of us who follow both CSU basketball squads. After a three week pause due to COVID in their opponents’ programs, they both returned to the court and delivered nearly identical wins over Air Force. 72-49 for the men and 72-48 for the women.
And the upcoming week has us on the edge of our seats as both teams are scheduled to play three games in the next five days.
The men have Air Force tonight, New Mexico on Wednesday, and visit Nevada on Friday. They’ll need all three of them to have any chance at a regular season conference championship.
Of course we’re all thinking that two of them are gimme’s (AFA and New Mexico) but thats never the case. As Coach Niko Medved said on Saturday night, “It’s tough to win a Division 1 basketball game.”
Air Force has struggled this year but they have delivered a road win at Nevada and led Boise State for the majority of a game up in Boise. They would love to end their regular season tonight with an upset victory over their in-state rivals.
In New Mexico, the Rams will be facing a team with a lame duck coach. It was announced on Friday that Paul Weir will be relieved of his duties as head coach so the Lobos will come to Fort Collins on Wednesday loaded for bear as they try to send their coach out with a regular season victory in his final regular season game at the helm. It’s been a tough year for the Lobos having to be headquartered out-of-state for most of the season and a victory will put a bow on it.
And then its on to Reno, where Nevada is still technically in a fight to hold on to the 5-seed and a first round bye in the MWC Tournament. Head Coach Steve Alford would like nothing more than a victory in front of their home crowd (Nevada allows a small number of people, cheerleaders, and band to attend) to build some momentum heading into next week’s MWC Tournament.
The Rams probably need all three of them to keep their at-large NCAA hopes alive. They definitely need 2 out of 3 to ensure they avoid the 4-seed in the MWC Tournament; the 4-seed gets a bye but draws a tough quarterfinal match-up and most likely the 1-seed in the semi’s if they advance.
As of this morning, the Rams’ NCAA NET Ranking is 43. Their resumes is clean with Quad1 and Quad2 wins, and zero Quad3 and Quad4 losses. Air Force and UNM are Quad 4games. Nevada will be a Quad2 game as it stands.
And now on to the Women.
The Mountain West is typically a one-bid league when it comes to Women’s Basketball. The Rams’ current NCAA NET Ranking is 70 , just ahead of New Mexico at 71. Neither rating is high enough to earn an at-large bid. The final week’s games will decide the regular season MWC Champion while jockeying for seeding in the all-important MWC Tournament.
The Women are scheduled to play at Air Force tonight and then a pair of games with current runner-up New Mexico. They will need victories in a minimum of two out of the three games this week to keep their place on the top perch and earn the 1-seed. And then they will need to earn three victories on consecutive days next week to earn an NCAA bid.
Edge of our seats for sure…
But there’s nothing better right now than to be engaged like this as a fan. The blood flows when your team is in a race for a conference championship, a trophy and subsequent banner, an NCAA Tournament bid.
TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF MARCH!