Travis Franklin and Andy Ogide fight to take away the ball from Mario Little (December 11, 2010)
It is no question that the Mountain West Conference is one of the up-and-coming conferences in college basketball. The Mountain West Conference is currently fourth in conference RPI, with powerhouses SDSU and BYU leading the way.
However there is a team that is on the rise. Fort Collins, CO is the home of the Colorado State Rams, the very same Colorado State Rams that went 0-16 in conference games in 2007.
Tim Miles, coach of the Rams, is in his fourth season as head coach. Miles has previously coached for Mayville State, Southwest Minnesota State and most recently North Dakota State, where he won 99 games in six seasons as coach of the Bison.
The Rams have vastly improved since Miles inherited the team in 2007. In 2008, the Rams won four conference games, and last year the team won nearly half of their conference games, coming in at 7-9.
Miles believes that with the amount of depth and mix of youth and veteran players on the team, they are ready to win now.
The team is led by seniors Andy Ogide and Travis Franklin, who together, average nearly 30 points and 12 rebounds. The team is also complemented by a very good sophomore class with starters Dorian Green, and Iowa State transfer Wes Eikmeier. Other prominent sophomores include Jesse Carr, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith.
How many games will CSU win this year?
The team is currently 11-5 (1-1), and has three of its next four games at home. The Rams have had some heartbreaking losses this season with an OT loss to CU in Boulder, a loss to Sam Houston State in which they took a lead into halftime, a two-point loss to Hampton, and a loss in "The Pit" in which they came back from a double-digit deficit late in the second half, yet fell short in the final moments.
The Rams have quality wins in non-conference games so far this season, with wins over Mississippi, and Southern Mississippi. The Rams will also have many more opportunities in the future to get quality wins against teams like BYU, SDSU, New Mexico and Air Force.
This year the Rams have high hopes for the year, and a ticket to the "Big Dance" is not out of sight.
"My goal is to make Colorado State, a nationally known team, one of those teams that's in the NCAA tournament on a regular basis," Miles said.