In a season where Colorado State overcame just about every obstacle imaginable, the Rams aren’t ready to pack it in just yet. Larry Eustachy’s group will make their first postseason appearance since the 2014-2015 season when they welcome the College of Charleston Cougars (25-9) to Moby Arena Tuesday night in the opening round of the NIT.
Colorado State (23-11) skipped out on the postseason a year ago and was passed over by the NCAA Selection Committee this year. But the team wants to keep going and who can blame them after what they’ve been through. In a season where the eventual Mountain West Conference Player of the Year (senior guard Gian Clavell) was off the team for a period of time, followed by three players being ruled ineligible, and then a report comes out in February that Eustachy (Mountain West Coach of the Year) intimidated and emotionally abused players back in the 2013-2014 season. It’s clear that Colorado State can handle just about anything that comes their way.
In their way now are the Cougars from the College of Charleston. College of Charleston finished second in the Colonial Athletic Conference regular season and second in conference tournament. The Cougars have three players (guards Joe Chealey, Riller Grant and forward Jarrell Brantley) in double figures in scoring and Brantley finished fourth in conference in rebounding (8.5 rpg). It’s a tall order for Clavell and the rest of the Rams to get ready for this team on short notice but nothing compared to the adversity that they’ve already overcome.
Colorado State will have a few advantages on Tuesday night. First, they don’t have to travel over 1700 miles to play a game on short notice and second, they are playing at elevation. Add in the fact that Clavell and senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo don’t seem ready to end their Colorado State careers just yet and you have the makings of a very exciting game.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m. MT at Moby Arena and can be seen on ESPN3.