Colorado State vs. Nevada: Preview, How To Watch, Stream
Rams, Wolf Pack should be a good one.
Currently a pick’em
Game: Nevada 14-9 (9-7) vs Nevada 17-4 (14-3)
Location: Reno, NV
TV: CBS Sports Network, 6:00 PST
Odds via BetMGM: Even
The Nevada Wolf Pack host the Colorado Rams in what is each team’s last regular season game before the Mountain West Tournament in Sin City. The matchup that was set to originally be played on February 20th, will be played in Reno, Nevada five days before the MW Tournament.
Colorado State hasn’t lost since January 29th when the Rams lost to Boise State by eight points. Colorado State is having a great season under third year head coach and Mountain West Coach of the Year candidate Niko Medved. The Rams, who were picked to finish fifth in the Mountain West preseason poll, are currently in second place and have a very legitimate chance to make the NCAA tournament. According to NCAA bracket guru Joe Lunardi, Colorado State is currently an 11th seed. While a loss to Nevada certainly wouldn’t kick the Rams out of the “Big Dance”, it would drop Colorado State even farther down on the seed list. The Rams are statistically the best offensive team in the Mountain West. The Rams rank first in the field goal percentage, second in three point percentage, averaged 75 points per game, and rank first in free throw percentage. The Rams, who don’t have a single senior on the roster, can score at will. Pair the Rams high powered offense with a top five defense in the league and Colorado State has shown they can compete with any team in the conference.
The Rams are led by David Roddy, a 6’5 sophomore from Minnesota. Roddy leads Colorado State in points with 16 PPG and rebounds with 9.6 RPG. Pairing with Roddy is Isaiah Stevens, Kendle Moore and Adam Thistlewood who are all averaging double digit points. Stevens, who was picked to the preseason All-Mountain West team, leads the Rams in assists. Stevens is averaging nearly 15 PPG and is the leader of this young team. Colorado State has had multiple games where any player on the court can hurt you offensively. Against Utah State, it was Stevens who led the way with 18 points. When the Rams beat Boise State, it was Roddy who dropped 27 points. In Colorado State’s last game when the Rams beat New Mexico, it was Thistlewood who dropped 27 points of his own. This blistering hot offense will test Nevada’s ever improving defense.
Nevada is looking to bounce back after the Wolf Pack dropped two straight against Utah State. While Nevada has locked up a first round bye in the Mountain West tournament thanks to San Diego’s win over UNLV, the Wolf Pack needs to beat Colorado State to get some sort of momentum going into the conference tournament. Nevada has shown great growth on the defensive end ranking top five in the Mountain West in defensive efficiency. The Wolf Pack is holding teams to 68 PPG and has the third best defensive field goal percentage in the conference at 40%. This Nevada team has been called a dark horse among many analysts to potentially win the conference tournament and steal a bid to the NCAA tournament. This comes to a surprise to many around the league as Nevada has had major roster changes in back to back years and is playing with one of the youngest teams in the nation.
The Wolf Pack’s scouting report hasn’t changed much throughout the year. When Grant Sherfield struggles as do Nevada. The Wichita State transfer has been able to lead this Nevada team to a first round bye in the conference tournament, but struggled in the Wolf Pack’s latest series. Sherfield had 11 points in Nevada’s three point loss in the first game against Utah State and a season low six points when the Wolf Pack got blown out by 21 points. While Sherfield struggled in Nevada’s last game, the Wolf Pack had five different scorers in double digits showing Nevada can find some sort of scoring without their leader. If a team can stop Nevada’s high powered backcourt, then the Wolf Pack are in for a very long night. Zane Meeks is another story line fans should pay attention to. Meeks was out during the Utah State series due to a lingering knee injury and is doubtful to return any time soon. Meeks is Nevada’s fourth leading scorer and provides a valuable role of spreading the floor as a 6’9 stretch forward.
Keys to the Game:
Utah State gave Colorado State a perfect playbook on how to beat Nevada. Shut down the All-Mountain West guard in Grant Sherfield and make another Wolf Pack player beat you. While Nevada has shown they have other players that can score in the absence of Sherfield, the Wolf Pack’s offense flows best through the Wichita State transfer. If you can limit Sherfield’s success, you are already half way to winning the game. Colorado State also needs to shoot the three ball at an efficient rate. While Nevada has improved on the defensive end, the Wolf Pack rank seventh in the Mountain West in three point defense. If Colorado State, who shoots 37% from beyond the arch, takes advantage of Nevada’s three-point defense, the Rams can win their last game before the Mountain West tournament.
Nevada needs to play one of their best defensive games against Colorado State if the Wolf Pack want to end the regular season on a high note. Colorado State is arguably the best offensive team in the Mountain West. Nevada also needs to take advantage of the Ram’s turnovers. Colorado State averages around 14 turnovers per game. The Wolf Pack can get some valuable points off turnovers if the Rams continue with their sloppy play. Lastly, Nevada needs Sherfield to bounce back and have a huge offensive night.
Colorado State comes into this game scoring the ball at will. The Rams also have an above average defense which makes Colorado State one of the best teams in the Mountain West. However, the Rams might already be looking ahead to the Mountain West Tournament which could make this a dangerous trap game. Also, look for Grant Sherfield to have a big bounce back game after having his worst outing of the year in the Wolf Pack’s last game. I predict Nevada wins a close, high scoring game 76-72.