Top 68 Team Previews: #25 Minnesota Gophers
Trevor Mbakwe returns for his last season as a Gopher.
By Phil Fattore
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Colorado State Rams
Last Season: 20-12 (8-6)
Key Losses: Will Bell and Kaipo Sabas
Head Coach: Larry Eustachy
Projected Starting Lineup
G: Dorain Green 6-2 Sr.
G: Wes Elkmeier 6-3 Sr.
F: Greg Smith 6-6 Sr.
F: Pierce Hornung 6-5 Sr.
C: Colton Iverson 6-10 Sr.
Key Reserves: G Jesse Carr 6-2 Sr., G Daniel Bejarano 6-4 So., G/F Dwight Smith 6-4 Jr.
There’s little doubt that out of all the Head Coaches in new roles this year, Larry Eustachy has landed in one of the best situations possible. The Rams return four starters from an NCAA Tourney team and add much needed size with Minnesota transfer Colton Iverson. The entire starting lineup will be comprised of seniors. That is great news for a first year coach looking to take a team to their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
In order for Colorado State to make that return visit to the Big Dance, they will have to improve their level of play on the road to match their success at home. Last season, the Rams were amazing in Moby Arena, posting a 14-1 record, including a perfect 7-0 in conference. Away from their campus, CSU was only 6-11 (3-9 road, 3-2 neutral), including a wretched 1-6 record in conference play. Having the leadership of six seniors at the top of their rotation should help them play better away from home.
While the Rams do not do a lot of things well, one thing they excel at is shooting the rock. They ranked first and were among the nation’s best in FG%, FT%, and 3-Point %. Often times they would take advantage of their terrific shooting by going to a 4 guard lineup. Don’t expect them to do the same this year with the addition of 6-10 center Colton Iverson. Iverson will give CSU the inside presence they have been missing. Throw in the hard working senior forward Pierce Hornung, and you suddenly have the balance needed to improve on last season’s 20 win mark.
The team got to work early on chemistry with a trip to the Bahamas. The Rams picked up a 95-80 win over the Bahamas All-Stars. They again showed off their shooting proficiency by connecting on 50% of their shots, including 47.4% from downtown. If they can continue to knock down shots and improve their play away from home, maybe the Rams can make a return trip to the Bahamas, but this time to celebrate a Mountain West Championship.