CSU at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic
GAME: The Colorado State Rams vs.The University of North Florida Ospreys
WHERE: Moby Arena, Fort Collins, CO
DATE/TIME: Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 – 7:00 MT
COVERAGE: CSU Radio Network, 90.5 FM
CONFERENCE: CSU – Mountain West, North Florida – Atlantic Sun
TEAM RECORDS: CSU: 6 – 2, UNF: 3 – 6
COACHES: CSU’s new coach is Larry Eustachy became the head coach on April 11th, 2012. His head-coaching positions include the University of Idaho 1990 – 1993, where he won a Big Sky conference championship in his final season there, before spending 5 (1993 – 1998) years at Logan, Utah as head coach of the Utah State Aggies. Eustachy was the head coach for the Iowa State Cyclones from 1998 – 2003, where he won AP National Coach of the Year after the 1999 – 2000 season, in which he took the Iowa State Cyclones to the elite eight at the NCAA Tournament. He won 2 Big XII conference titles with the cyclones in 2000 and 2001. Coach Eustachy spent the last 8 years with the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, where he finished last year’s season at 11 – 5 with an NCAA Tournament appearance.
UNF’s coach is Matthew Driscoll, who is no stranger to the west, and more specifically the Mountain West. Before coming to the University of North Florida, Driscoll spent the previous 12 years as an assistant at Baylor University, Valparaiso University, Clemson University and the Mountain West’s own University of Wyoming. In a survey of his peers in May of 2008 Driscoll was rated one of the top 10 assistants in the US by Fox Sports. UNF is Driscoll’s first and only head coaching position at the collegiate level, where his record is 44–53 (.454).
THE ROSTERS: Both teams come into this contest after a week off for finals week and on two game losing streaks. CSU dropped the last two against the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the UIC Flames. UNF has played superior competition, losing to Memphis, Kansas State, Florida State, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. CSU has a fairly large hight advantage, with UNF’s tallest players measuring 6’8", giving up 4 inches to CSU’s center Trevor Williams at 7’0". CSU Forward/Center Colton Iverson, who has become a major player in CSU’s defensive scheme is 6’10".
UNF’s Parker Smith was named the Atlantic Sun’s Player of the week after the recent loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers and is the leading scorer, averaging 17.8 points per game. Add to this Travis Wallace, with 11.6 ppg and CSU will have to guard against an explosive guard / forward combination. Off the bench scoring leader Jerron Granbery is averaging 9.2 ppg and 3.4 rebounds. CSU’s leaders are Wes Eikmeier, Pierce Hornung, Dorian Green and Greg Smith. Smith scored 20 points in the loss against UIC. The Rams should have the edge against the Ospreys as CSU plays a disciplined defensive game. Add to this the home court advantage, where the Rams are very tough. In order to have a solid home win, though, the Rams will have to pick it up on offense. The Rams are 102nd nationally in points per game, 206th in assists per game and 169th nationally in field goal percentage. Compared to the Ram’s 12th overall ranking in rebounds and the dichotomy between the Ram’s success on defense and the struggles in offense become quite clear.