Rapidly, the Rams are becoming recognized as one of the best teams in the nation.
Colorado State currently sits just outside the Top-25 polls, starting 18-4 overall and 5-2 in the incredibly competitive Mountain West Conference.
The Rams can't be beaten at home – they've won a school record 26 straight games dating back to last season – but away from Moby Arena, they're a different animal.
At home, CSU's team confidence is unbeatable; they control the game for the first half and completely take over in the second to blow many opponents out.
On the road they seem to lose that killer instinct, that toughness they need to overcome more athletically gifted squads, and allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the environment. All four of the green and gold's losses this year have come on the road, albeit by nine or fewer points, and the simple truth of the matter is that Larry Eustachy's team must win away from Fort Collins to earn that national respect.
The first-year Colorado State coach leads his team into Reno, Nevada tonight to play the newcomer to the conference Wolf Pack.
Eustachy's philosophies are simple; play all-out on every inch of the hardwood every night, starting with defense and rebounding as the keys to winning. As difficult as it may seem, he's got a group of seniors to buy into what he's selling and it's paying off for all of them.
The Rams rebound better than anyone in college basketball today. They are third overall in total rebounds per game at 43.2, but their +13.7 rebounding margin is three more boards than second-best Maryland at +10.6. Defensively, they allow only 59.3 points per game over the season, and an even better 55.5 over their last six games (5-1).
Colton Iverson and Pierce Hornung – who won MWC Player of the Week Monday for his second time this season – are the country's top duo for rebounds, at 19.2 per contest. They're physical animals that will push their way through opposing big men, sacrificing their bodies for the loose ball and an extra possession for the team.
In the backcourt, Dorian Green has been hot, putting up 16.4 points and 4.8 assists per in the last five games.
For Nevada (11-10, 2-5 MWC), junior guard Deonte Burton scores well (16.4 PPG) and knows how to drop dimes, too (3.4 APG). Burton loves to shoot the rock, and he's strong inside the arc, but has been known to fire up bricks from downtown. That's where backcourt mate Malik Story comes in, as he makes 34.0 percent of his three-pointers this season, including 44.8 percent in the last five games.
The Wolf Pack are having a difficult time adjusting to this fierce field of competitors in the MW, and they actually allow more points (70.1) than they score (68.7). If Colorado State is on top of their game, they could easily go over 70 points for the sixth time in nine games tonight, though, it would be a rare sight on the road.
It must be noted that the Rams won their last game away from home, in Fresno, California 11 days ago 74-63, meaning a win tonight would give them back-to-back road wins for the first time since non-conference play last season at Northern Colorado and UTEP.
Tip off it slated for 8 p.m. MT, a theme for the next few weeks, and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
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