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CSU Gets Back to Winning Ways Against Drake and An Early Season Critique

The CSU Rams(3-1) beat Drake(2-4) at Fort Collins by a score of 78-67.  This win goes toward the Mountain West  Missouri Valley Conference Challenge.  Andy Ogide was the high scorer with 18 and added 10 rebounds for the double double.  Read the game recap here.

I am going to use this game as a critique of the Rams so far in the young season.  They have been pointed to as the next good team in the MWC.  I am here to tell you how they are looking.

So far, not exactly like the next big thing in the Mountain West.  That could be to the high level the other teams are playing right now though.  The Rams are much deeper then last year, 9 players saw 13 or more minutes and 11 played overall.  This looks to be Tim Miles feeling out his roster and I agree with how he is doing it.  Good news for Ram fans, Greg Smith played 16 minutes and seemed to not be in Miles' doghouse during those 16 minutes.  Smith did seem a bit lost standing around on offense but his defense and transition game helped the Rams pull away in the second half.  More after The Jump...

Andy Ogide is averaging 18ppg and 7.5rpg.  How he is getting those numbers is frustrating.  He has taken more jumpers then he should and not playing physical down low.  He has taken 3 three point attempts in four games, two shy of his season high last year of 5.  There is NO reason for him to shoot a three with the shooters the Rams have.  Once he does play physical down low his emotions seem to get the best of him and he is begging for a technical foul to come flying his way.  His rebounds are mostly on the defensive side. Travis Franklin has 11 offensive rebounds leading the team.  Ogide is tied with 6'5" sophomore Pierce Hornung with 8.  That isn't how your biggest threat inside should be playing.

The Rams three point shooting will come around, it came a bit last night as they shot 45%.  Jesse Carr and Wes Eikmeier have shot below expectation, while Andre McFarland and Dorian Green have shot well in the early season.  With those four outside threats and Adam Nigon tagging along the Rams have the deep ball potential to stay in games with anyone.

The turnover to assist ratio is killing once again at 54-54.  This isn't a big assist offense but you can't be trading them 1 for 1. Nearly half of those turnovers can be given to Franklin and Ogide.  Simply the big men need to take better care of the ball.  The guards are doing a good job with Green at 10-7, Carr at 12-9, and Eikmeier 10-3.  Carr is doing better as he is getting back into the speed of the game so I expect those numbers to increase.  Carr is still the threat at point guard they have missed.  He sees passing lanes no one else on the team does.

So what are the Rams right now?  They are who they were last year, good but not good enough to break into the top of the MWC or get a bid to the NCAA right now.   They still can be the next big thing if they shore up the little mistakes and shoot the ball with any accuracy.  The Sam Houston State game wasn't all the bad until you look at the shooting numbers, they could have won that game with any accuracy at the free throw line or the three point line.  That game was an exception not the rule.  

The Rams can turn it around.  Getting Greg Smith back helps.  Ogide is shooting lights out which helps open his inside game, he just needs to do it more.  The role players are playing well and keeping the intensity up for the Rams.  The three point shots will start to drop if last night wasn't the start of that already.  The Rams need to take care of the ball and they could surprise some people.  Let's have them start proving the early season doubters this Saturday at home against Fresno State and then the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Boulder next week.