Utah vs Colorado State- Game Preview

Utah vs Colorado State- Game Preview

A battle for third place at the Huntsman Center as the Utes take on the Rams...

Facts And Factors

The Utah men's basketball team (10-10, 3-3 MWC) will look to extend its winning streak to four games Saturday as the Runnin' Utes host Colorado State (13-6, 3-2 MWC). The game will be televised live on The Mtn.

The game will feature a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Utah's 1960-61 Final Four team. A halftime presentation will be made and will include appearances by several of the players, coaches and staff from that team. Utah's current players will also be wearing 1960's throwback uniforms to honor the anniversary.

Utah is coming off a 75-62 victory on the road at TCU. Junior wing Will Clyburn tallied game highs of 22 points and nine rebounds to lead the Utes to their third consecutive win. Junior guard Josh "Jiggy" Watkins scored 14 while sophomore wing Shawn Glover added 11 points. Junior center David Foster contributed seven rebounds and four blocks.

Clyburn remains Utah's leading scorer and rebounder at 18.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, ranking No. 2 in the MWC in each category. Watkins is leading the Utes in assists with 3.4 per game, while Foster leads the team and the MWC in blocks, with 3.0 per contest.

While Utah has the midweek bye in the conference, Colorado State will take on Air Force at home Wednesday, before coming to Salt Lake City. In the Rams' last outing, they fell at home to BYU, 94-85. The loss followed a road victory at UNLV, 78-63.

CSU is led offensively by senior forward Andy Ogide, who tops the roster at 15.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Dorian Green leads the Rams with 2.7 assists per contest. Colorado State is currently the second-highest scoring team in the conference at 76.1 points per game.

The Utes hold an all-time record of 100-44 (.694) against the Rams, including a 55-16 (.775) mark at home. Colorado State has won two straight meetings, sweeping both contests last year and snapping the Utes' five-game win streak in the series. Utah is 7-3 at home this year, while Colorado State is 3-3 on the road.

Utah head coach Jim Boylen, now in his fourth year at the helm for the Utes, owns a 66-52 (.559) record. Colorado State is coached by Tim Miles, now in his fourth season, who owns an 45-69 (.395) record as the Rams' head coach.

The Game

Who do these Utes think they are? While they aren't the caliber of SDSU or BYU, you could argue that this is the third best team in the conference, and they're playing like it right now. Kudos to Jim Boylen for getting the team back on track. A lesser coach would have packed it, knowing that this is going to be his last season in town. Boylen continues to fight for his job and fight for his team. There's a lot to admire in regards to what he and the Utes have done the last three games.

Utah used fairly balanced scoring in their last win over TCU, getting 22 from Will Clyburn. Jiggy Watkins came back to Earth with ‘only' 14 points, but was again very efficient in running the team and getting the best looks on the offensive end for his teammates.

Shawn Glover had his third straight double digit scoring game. He's knocked down 50% of his threes over the last three games.

David Foster is rounding into form and played his fourth straight game with 25 or more minutes. His presence has been huge for the Utes on the defense end as he continues to block shots at an incredible rate. Foster will likely push for 25 minutes again against Colorado State and has been a big reason as to why the Utes have been so good defensively in the three wins.

Colorado State counters with a three guard offense and two bigs inside that aren't exactly big. Andy Ogide goes 6'9" while Travis Franklin is only 6'7". Those two lead the team in scoring, with both averaging 15+ per game, while Ogide also chips in 7.6 rebounds per contest.

The Rams are a very efficient team offensively shooting 49.7% from the field for the season, good enough for fifth in the nation.

Colorado State is a veteran team that is able to go on the road in conference play and get a W, as evidenced by their impressive win at UNLV. They've got three senior starters and have hung with the likes of Kansas, BYU, and New Mexico before eventually falling.

This game is huge in terms of positioning for the MWC Conference tournament. The Utes and Rams both have a very good shot at the three seed, which would likely keep them from a first round matchup with UNLV.

Prediction

This team is rolling and there's not reason to think they'll stop now. Colorado State just can't match up with Utah inside and the bigs will have a field day in the scoring and rebounding department. The inside defensive presence of Washburn and Foster will keep Ogide and Franklin from their season averages while the Utes dominate the glass and hit their free throws down the stretch to pull away in a tight game. Make it four in a row and a tie for third in the Mountain West. The 61 Final Four team will be impressed.

Utah 75 Colorado State 66

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