UW-Colorado State men’s hoops Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Matt Stephens, who covers Colorado State men’s basketball for the Fort Collins Coloradan, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming at 2 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

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Are the Rams where you thought they would be in the conference standings based on what it lost from last season’s NCAA Tournament team and had coming back?

To be completely honest with you, I didn’t have CSU making the NCAA tournament this year, but the Rams were fourth on my preseason ballot behind New Mexico, Boise State and San Diego State. Sitting in eighth with a game to go is a bit of a surprise, but not so much because of what CSU failed to do this season.

Nevada and Fresno State have found a way to struggled through nonconference, but pick up some quality wins in Mountain West play, which has dropped the Rams, Wyoming and Utah State down a couple of pegs in the standings. It’s wild to think that Nevada, which will finish with an overall record below .500, could earn the No. 3 seed in the Mountain West tournament next week if it and Air Force wins Saturday.

 

Junior guard Daniel Bejarano won the league’s sixth man award last season, and has seemingly made a smooth transition into being a starter and leader. Is that accurate or has there been some bumps along the road?

I’d say it’s accurate. He’s really turned up his game since Mountain West play started and you can count on him to score close to 20 points per night and lead the Rams in rebounding. His blowup with coach Larry Eustachy at San Diego State was an obvious hiccup and his offense struggled at Air Force, but other than those instances, he’s earned my vote for first-team all-conference.

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Border War Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Matt Stephens, who covers Colorado State men’s basketball for the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

Wyoming (18-11 overall, 4-11 Mountain West) hosts Colorado State (22-7, 9-5) at 8 tonight at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Question: Air Force’s Michael Lyons, New Mexico’s Kendall Williams and Boise State’s Derrick Marks have had huge games the last couple of weeks against the Rams. Is there a big concern about Colorado State’s perimeter defense, or do you chalk it up to three very good players having very good games?

Answer: I only get concerned when CSU is playing on a Saturday. The Rams held all UNLV and Fresno State players to less than 20 the past two Wednesday, so there must be some voodoo going on.

But really, I don’t see what CSU is missing in terms of on-ball defense. Williams and Lyons each had a hand in their faces on most shots, but they were allowed to catch the ball. The Rams have really focused on “no catch” defense the last week or so, and against Fresno State it worked, as they denied Kevin Olekaibe the ball in the second half to shut him down.

It is hard to really figure out what else CSU can do. Even Larry Shyatt noted it Monday that opponents were just having big games. No rhyme or reason.

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