Fresno State comes into this match up as the favorite. After easily knocking off the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the quarterfinals, all eyes would be on Marvelle Harris, the star of the Mountain West this year, as he and his squad battle the surging Colorado State Rams.
Initially, the Rams came out with consistent field goal shooting, and their highly skilled guard Antwan Scott grabbed 10 of the team's first 14 points. In fact, it was Scott more than Harris who shined brighter for most of the first half. However, in the last few minutes, the Bulldogs went on a run with the help of their strength advantage in the post and the Rams' shooting went cold. After one half of basketball, 33-32 CSU leads.
Here's 3 Things to Watch for in the second half:
1. Will Fresno State's size and strength advantage in the front court figure more significantly?
As much as the Rams' talented guard play was the difference maker in the first half, Fresno State would do well to exploit CSU's lack of dominant post presence. Instead of the Bulldogs' reliance on kicking it out to their guards, let's see if they begin to give the Rams problems by utilizing center Karachi Edo more.
2. Can Marvelle Harris maintain offensive rhythm?
Harris is the coach's Mountain West Player of the Year, and it took him most of the first half to find his offensive rhythm. When a team has a star, he must shine in order for the rest of the squad to follow his lead. Look for him to try to dominate the second half.
3. Which Team REALLY wants a chance to dance?
Different from the stakes for SDSU in the previous game, the only way Fresno State or Colorado State can have the opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament is to win today (and tomorrow). It all starts with the next 20 minutes. In a game where neither team will be expected to win big, the second half is a time where these players will leave it all on the court. So, buckle your seat belts.