After going winless in the Mountain West Conference regular season last year, the CSU men’s basketball team has no were to go but up.
The preseason media poll doesn’t have the Rams climbing too far, as the voters have CSU only moving one spot up to eighth this season, only topping last place TCU by four points.
CSU head coach Tim Miles won’t be content with a similar struggle this season, as he expects to put a much better product on the court, but he wasn’t surprised at the prediction.
“I think that based on last year we are exactly where we deserve to be,” said Miles. “Still, it doesn’t matter where we are picked, we will have the same high expectations every season, and we have to find a way to reach them.”
Despite the low projection, the Rams appear be confident heading into the season, at least according to Miles’ mid-game during the CSU-Texas Christian football game this weekend.
He stated that his squad has been telling him often that they are going “from worst to first” this season.
It will be difficult to capture the league title, however, as reigning two-time MWC Tournament champion UNLV and two-time MWC regular season champion BYU are again expected to be the class of the conference.
The preseason all-MWP team is heavy on experience, as all five players are seniors. The team is highlighted by co-players of the year Wink Adams of UNLV and Lee Cummard of BYU, who are joined by San Diego State’s Lorenzo Wade, Utah’s Luke Nevill, and Wyoming’s Brandon Ewing.
Additionally, Tre’Von Willis of UNLV, a sophomore transfer from Memphis, was chosen as Newcomer of the Year, and Phillip McDonald, of New Mexico, is the projected Freshman of the Year.
The preseason poll means that CSU’s basketball kickoff event, “10 o’clock Rock,” is around the corner, and Miles is ready for his second season in charge of the Rams.
“It’s always exciting this time of year, and this season we have added more players and we have a good group returning. Now we get to see how well we can compete,” said Miles.
The CSU women’s team was also picked to finish eighth in their preseason poll, following a winless season in conference (2-27 overall) one year ago.
The Rams were picked to finish ahead of the Air Force Falcons, 44 points to 36 points.
Utah is the preseason favorite once again to win the conference, followed by San Diego State and Texas Christian.
Men’s basketball beat writer Matthew Pucak can be reached at email@example.com.