Predicting Colorado State Basketball’s 2019-20 Non-Conference Record
Predicting Colorado State’s non-conference win-loss record
What can Nico Carvacho and the Rams accomplish in non-league play?
Colorado State enters year two of the Niko Medved era with one of the Mountain West’s highest-scoring teams and the best rebounder in the country in Nico Carvacho.
The Rams play a number of the same teams as last season, including South Dakota State, Colorado, and New Mexico State. All eyes are on the November 8 matchup as Medved’s team heads east to take on the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Nov. 5: Denver
WIN: Rodney Billups’ team was miserable last season and has just one returning double figures scorer, who happens to be the only upperclassman.
Nov. 8: at Duke
LOSS: This one doesn’t figure to be competitive, but what an awesome opportunity for CSU’s players. Great test for the Rams to build and grow.
Nov. 13: Omaha
WIN: The Mavs were second in the Summit last year but lose their top two scorers to graduation. Lackluster defense could lead to an offensive shootout.
Nov. 16: at Loyola Marymount
LOSS: Watching 7-3 Mattias Markusson battle Nico Carvacho inside will be a treat. This one’s a toss-up and quality road test for the Rams.
Nov. 20: Arkansas State
WIN: Pad-your-stats game. Chattanooga transfer Jerry Johnson looks to save a scrambled Sun Belt squad that loses three of its top four players.
Nov. 25: vs. New Mexico State (Cayman Islands Classic)
LOSS: Chris Jans’ team was 30-5 in ’18-19, top 20 in offensive and defensive efficiency, returns four starters, and adds major grad transfer Jalone Friday.
Nov. 26: vs. Loyola Chicago* (Cayman Islands Classic)
LOSS: Sign me up for Cameron Krutwig vs. Nico Carvacho. He’s the last key contributor remaining from Loyola’s 2018 Final Four squad.
Nov. 27: vs. Washington State* (Cayman Islands Classic)
WIN: CSU should pick up its first high-major win of the year against the new-look WSU Cougars. Kyle Smith has quite the rebuild ahead of him.
Dec. 1: Utah Valley
WIN: Seven (!) Wolverines transferred over the offseason as Mark Pope secured the BYU head coaching position. UVU has to hit the reset button.
Dec. 10: South Dakota State
WIN: Mike Daum is gone (and so are T.J. Otzelberger and David Jenkins, kinda) as well as two other senior guards. Yikes. Could be a rebuilding year.
Dec. 13: Colorado
LOSS: The Buffaloes could wind up as the Pac-12 champion thanks to the elite guard-forward duo of McKinley Wright IV and Tyler Bey.
Dec. 21: at Tulsa
LOSS: Frank Haith has had an up-and-down Tulsa tenure, but this could be one of his better teams. French forward Martins Igbanu (12.5 PPG) is solid.
Dec. 28: Doane (NAIA)
WIN: I’m not going to pretend I’ve heard of Doane University (College?) before today. I can comfortably assume this will be a Colorado State win.
PROJECTED non-conference record: 7-6
Niko Medved’s team absolutely has to be better on the defensive side if it wants to improve in ’19-20. A number of tests – especially away from home – will challenge the Rams and hopefully get the ball rolling into conference competition.
There are a handful of winnable games against solid mid-major teams in Loyola Marymount, Omaha, Loyola Chicago, and Tulsa. If nothing else, Nico Carvacho has some awesome individual matchups. Sign me up for the country’s leading rebounder against Duke’s five-star freshman Vernon Carey, Loyola Marymount’s Mattias Markusson, New Mexico State’s Jalone Friday, Colorado’s Tyler Bey, and Tulsa’s Martins Igbanu.
Note: Asterisk (*) indicates projected opponents from Cayman Islands Classic bracket. Projected opponents are based on preseason rankings from BartTorvik.com.
Eli Boettger is the lead basketball writer at Mountain West Wire. He’s covered Mountain West basketball since 2015 and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, MSN, and other platforms. Boettger is a current USBWA member.