The Rams are coming off a 9-22 season with a 4-12 record in the Mountain West Conference. The Rams will look to improve on both those records, however they were picked to finish 8th in the conference. Tim Miles is going into his third year as the Rams head coach and looks for his recruits and system to start taking effect. Let's check out the roster.
The Rams are returning three of five starters. They lost their main scoring threat in Marcus Walker which will hurt, he averaged 17.1 points per game last year. The other loss was guard Willis Gardner. The returning three are Jesse Carr, Andre McFarland, and Andy Ogide. None of those three are seniors so they should start throughout this year and next giving Miles some stability in his lineup. Jesse Carr was impressive as a freshman when he was healthy. He brings the three point threat which opens up some lanes. At 6-6 McFarland is small for a forward but has scoring potential. Last season he shot .399% from the field, and was actually better from behind the arc at .423%. Ogide was a bit of a work in progress last year averaged 10.2 points per game, while shooting 50% from the field.
This leaves the Rams with two open starting spots. I expect one to go to Harvey Perry. He is a great athlete but struggled shooting last year. He has the talent to put it together as a senior. The other spot depends if Tim Miles wants to go with a 3 guard or 2 guard lineup. The guard choices are a little slim with Adam Nigon or Arin Dunn being your choices, both are rather unattractive. The forward would be Travis Franklin who averaged 18 minutes and 6.5 points per game. That would be the best route for Tim Miles to take as the guard options are thin.
For new comers the Rams picked up three transfers Travis Busch, Johnny Del Bene, and Wes Eikmeier. Eikmeier is ineligible this year so lets skip him. Busch is coming from Minnesota but tore his ACL this summer. He is on the roster however his health is up in the air for sure. Bene is a junior college transfer out of San Diego Mesa College.
As for freshman the Rams have four listed on the roster. They have a seven footer in Trevor Williams out of Denver, CO. Greg Smith out of Nebraska was named "Mr. Basketball" for the state. None of these players are world beaters and will see limited minutes unless they surprise the coaching staff. If any of them do surprise my pick would be Dorian Green out of Kansas.
Last year The Mtn ran a show covering the Rams and Tim Miles called "Reaching the Peak". It was nominated for an emmy so there will be a follow up show of the same nature. You can catch a inside look at the Rams on The Mtn this fall leading up to the season.
Tim Miles is putting his system into place and if the players follow it should show results. The Rams were picked for 8th but I think they could jump a few spots higher if things start clicking in Fort Collins. Are they going to win the MWC? No. Can they do better then 8th? Absolutely. To do this they have to establish a inside game to compliment their guard play. This is easier said then done but essential for the Rams success.
A good season for the Rams would be a 6-7 place finish in the MWC with most those wins coming at home, along with coming out strong against their non-conference opponents. They can't lose to smaller schools like they have in the past. Simply win the games you should and try and suprise a few in upsets. Just around .500 should be a goal for this team, 14-17(6-10) would be a good season for this team.
A bad season would see them in the same place as last year with the only wins in conference against Air Force. They have a schedule that they can win some games early and get confidence, if they fail to do so it could be another 9-22 year on the horizon.