Moby Arena has already been graced by celebrity guests this year, as Caremelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and George Karl of the Denver Nuggets stopped by to watch when the Rams hosted Boise Sate, but on Saturday another big name comes to town when coach Bob Huggins and the Kansas State Wildcats of the Big XII conference come into Fort Collins.
The game is set for 3:05 p.m. in Moby Arena Saturday, and the Rams are clearly excited for this game, and hope to see the newly named “Green Machine” cheering section out in full force, according to Rams forward Jason Smith.
“Saturday should be a great game, and I’d love to see the student section out there cheering and supporting us,” said Smith, a junior who was one of ten players in the nation selected to the preseason Playboy All-American team.
The Wildcats come into the contest with a 4-2 record, after being defeated 78-48 at California Wednesday night, but according to Rams head coach Dale Layer, they are one of the most talented teams the Rams will see this year.
“They are an unbelievably athletic team, coached by a Hall of Fame type coach (in Huggins). They bring toughness and defensive pressure that we have not yet seen,” he said after practice Thursday.
Huggins is in his first season as Kansas State head coach, but he is a household name for college basketball fans, especially as the coach of Cincinnati and owing to the fact he has won over 500 games and made 15 NCAA tournament appearances.
The Wildcats have three players averaging double figures in scoring, and are led by seniors Lance Harris, who averages 13.3 points a game, and Cartier Martin who scores 13.2 points a game.
While containing those two is important, Layer added that the Rams also have to hold Kansas State from getting offensive rebounds.
“They are the number two team in the nation on the offensive boards, so we have to be extremely tough to control the glass.”
Players and coaches both said it was the biggest non-conference home game of the year for the Rams, who are come into the game with a 5-2 record on the season and are riding a three-game winning streak after defeating the Denver Pioneers Wednesday night, 81-73, for their first road win of the season.
Jason Smith led the Rams with 24 points and 9 rebounds, despite fouling out with 5:04 remaining in the game, as the Rams rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to win.
Junior college transfer Tim Denson went for a career high with 18 points, and Tyler Smith chipped in 14 points for the Rams, while Denver was carried by Deshawn Walker, who drilled 8 3-pointers while scoring 30 points.
Tickets to the game are free, and can be obtained by bringing a CSU student ID to Moby Arena, and the game will be televised on The MTN.
Matthew Pucak is the basketball beat writer for the collegian and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.