Border War basketball Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Kelly Lyell, who covers Colorado State men’s basketball for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 2 p.m. MT at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Follow on Twitter: @KellyLyell

Kelly Lyell

Kelly Lyell

After the 72-59 loss at Utah State Wednesday the Rams have lost four of their last six. Are they a good indication of their record (14-12, 6-7 MW) or is his squad better than that?

They’re a good indication of their record on the season, better than half the teams they’ve played and worse than half. They’re capable of playing at a very high level at times, but not on a consistent enough basis to be a better-than-average team in the Mountain West this season.

In the loss to Utah State, Colorado State missed 18 of its last 20 3-pointers. Even though the Rams have been among the leaders in the MW in 3-point shooting this season, is this a team that lives and dies by the 3?

Very much so. The first thing the Rams do when they fall behind is try to shoot their way back into it from 3-point range. It’s worked enough times this season, too, that they keep trying that approach, even if it’s not necessarily the best way for them to get back into a game.

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UW vs. Colorado State hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Kelly Lyell, who covers Colorado State men’s basketball for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 4 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @KellyLyell

At 12-8 overall and 4-3 in the Mountain West, is this where you thought the Rams would be at this point of the season? 

Kelly Lyell

Kelly Lyell

I thought the Rams would be a game or two ahead of where they are right now. I figured they’d still have Gian Clavell and his 20-plus points a game, as well as a favorable schedule to start Mountain West play with home games early against UNLV, San Diego State and Utah State and only one tough road game in the first seven in the opener at Boise State.

How has Colorado State responded and played since losing senior guard Gian Clavell, its leading scorer at the time, to season-ending hand and shoulder injuries? 

The Rams have responded surprisingly well to Clavell’s loss, battling Kansas State right up to the buzzer just two days after learning he was out for the rest of the year and taking Boise State down to the wire, as well, in the MW opener on the road two weeks later. They lost a lot of offensive firepower when Clavell went down, but they seem to have stepped up some on the defensive end, knowing they won’t have his points to fall back on.

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Border War football 2015: Notes, quotes and video

As usual, I start with my top key for Wyoming in Saturday’s Border War football game with Colorado State:

Keep emotions in check: The Border War is an important game for both squads, and more often than not emotions are amped up for the players. That’s fine, but you still have to execute the game plan. The team that does that the best has the upper hand. Emotion is a good thing, but not when it leads to mistakes. How both teams manage their emotions will be key, especially early in the game.

Here is my preview of the game:

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UW-CSU Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Kelly Lyell, who covers Colorado State football for the Fort Collins Coloradoan about Saturday’s Border War with the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @KellyLyell

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

 

How is Colorado State mentally and physically after its 34-27 homecoming loss to San Jose State? From comments from coaches and players it appeared that was a tough loss for the squad to take.

It was an unusually tough loss for the Rams. It was the conference opener and a chance to get a fresh start after going 2-3 in nonconference games. It was an opportunity to build on the momentum gained from wins over Cal Poly and UTEP, sandwiched around a strong showing in a loss at top-ranked Alabama. There were 26,022 fans — the largest crowd at Hughes Stadium since last year’s Boise State game — there for them to win back after four disappointing seasons in a row.

Plus, they blew a second-half lead in a game they went on to lose again, just as they had done in the first two games of the season against Colorado and Tulsa. It was a real setback for the Rams.

Physically, it took a toll, too, with star linebacker Shaquil Barrett suffering an ankle sprain that has made him questionable for the Border War, and nose tackle Josh Lovingood, a true freshman who made his first start while senior Calvin Tonga deals with “some personal issues” suffering a foot injury that could require surgery. Tonga isn’t expected to play this week, either, so the Rams will be down to a rotation of their third-, fourth- and fifth-stringers at nose tackle.

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UW-CSU Border War Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Kelly Lyell, who covers Colorado State football for the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

Look for Q&As with writers who cover the opponents of the University of Wyoming football program every Friday.

What are the biggest differences you see in the program with new coach Jim McElwain compared to former coach Steve Fairchild?

The biggest differences are in the attitude of the players and coaching staff. McElwain emphasizes a sense of family and forces players to get to know and respect each other, and one of the first things he did was eliminate the daily competition that Fairchild had set up between the offense and defense. McElwain considers it his job to develop his players and not try to make them do things they’re not likely to be able to accomplish. Fairchild had an NFL coaching style that expected players to motivate themselves, and regularly chewed them out when they couldn’t do what needed to be done to execute his offensive and defensive systems. Players clearly prefer McElwain’s style, even if it doesn’t seem to be producing any more success right now than Fairchild’s did.

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