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Colorado State’s Road to the Sweet 16: Volume 7

Two big wins against Wyoming and Utah State. Now it gets real

(Check out Colorado State’s Road to the Sweet 16: Volume 6 here)

Here we go.

The greatest time of year is upon us.

March Madness is like no other. The best part? Mountain West basketball is better than it’s been in a very long time. It’s looking more and more likely that 4 teams from the conference are going to make the Big Dance - Colorado State, Boise State, San Diego State, and Wyoming. Who knows, maybe a bid stealer can make it 5? I’m looking at you UNLV and Fresno State. The MWC Tournament next week in Las Vegas is certain to be electrifying.

Here, the focus is on Colorado State.

The last time we checked in, CSU was coming off ANOTHER disappointing loss against UNLV. It’s something about the Runnin’ Rebels that give the Rams fits. Take out even one of those losses and CSU is probably ranked headed into March.

But why fret? The Rams are on a roll. Winner of 7 of the last 8, CSU is getting contributions from all over the floor. Chandler Jacobs has found a more prominent role. Kendle Moore is finally utilizing his speed and has found his 3-point stroke. Isaiah Stevens has been a steady second star all year.

And then there’s David Roddy.

This dude just LOOKS like an NBA prospect.

Roddy is averaging 19.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 2.2 APG while shooting 47.3% from 3, and 57.4% overall. He’s ridiculous.

I know I’m biased, but Roddy absolutely has my vote for Mountain West Player of the Year. He’s a force. The most un-guardable player in the entire conference.

So what’s happened since “Colorado State Road to the Sweet 16: Volume 6”?

First, a win over Wyoming.

Colorado State 61, Wyoming 55

Speaking of David Roddy, what a game he had against CSU’s biggest rival. 26 points and 11 rebounds on 8-13, 4-7 from 3. Meanwhile, fellow MWC Player of the Year candidate Graham Ike was held to just 8 points on 3-13 shooting. For a team in CSU that’s struggled with the opposing team’s best player recently, containing Ike to such a minuscule scoring night was key in the victory.

Colorado State looked like they were going to cruise to a win early on, leading 19-7 after the first 9 minutes had passed. Wyoming came storming back, eventually taking the lead, before relinquishing it before the half. CSU 31, WYO 27.

In the second half, the lead never got to more than 6 points for the Rams, but they ended up winning by that exact number. Chandler Jacobs once again took over late. Reminiscent of the Boise State game, Jacobs scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half. When he plays with aggression, Chandler Jacobs is a valuable third star for CSU. Already a pro-level defender, when Jacobs plays with confidence on offense, the Rams are almost impossible to beat.

I would be remiss not to mention Isaiah Stevens as well. Although he’s struggled shooting this year, Stevens's Assist-to-Turnover ratio is at an all-time high, and he has been a steady presence for CSU all year. Stevens finished the game with 10 points and 6 assists.

Overall, it was an important win over a tournament team in Wyoming that had big implications win or lose. After dropping their first matchup in Laramie, CSU proved they belong at/or near the top of the conference discussion after handling business the second time at home.

Colorado State 66, Utah State 55

Not going to lie, this one made me nervous. Logan, Utah is always a tough place to play, and the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum was rocking last Saturday.

Luckily, Kendle Moore plays for the good guys.

Moore undoubtedly had his best game of the year against the Aggies. He dropped 23 points on 9-13 shooting, 5-7 from 3. He was, as the kids say, ON FIRE. Best of all, he joined the 1000 point club with this BANGER:

That 3 was not only historic for Moore, but it put CSU up by 5 late in the game. From there, the Rams never looked back.

It truly was.

You can’t help but feel happy for the kid. He’s had an outstanding career at Colorado State but has struggled much of the year. Of his 4 years at CSU, this is his least productive season scoring-wise. Averaging over 10 PPG just last year, Moore is averaging just over 6 PPG this season. Nevertheless, Kendle has stuck it out and been a contributor all year for the Rams, if not with scoring, then with every other facet of the game. The ultimate team player.

Besides Moore, the Rams mostly relied on Roddy and Stevens (what else is new), who put up 13 and 11 respectively.

A big win for CSU, and a big confidence booster heading into their final regular-season matchup of the year with Mountain West Champion Boise State. While the Broncos have already locked up the regular-season conference title, this game will have large implications on seeding in the NCAA tournament. For CSU, it also could mean the difference between a 2 and 4 seed in the conference tournament next week in Las Vegas.

The action against Boise State will take place this Saturday, March 5 @ 4:30 pm MST on CBS Sports Network.

If you haven’t already, buy stock in Colorado State now. It’s about to be one hell of a ride.