Kentucky might not have beaches or tropical weather but the CSU Rams couldnâ€™t think of a better place to spend their spring break.
The Rams (16-15) are in the blue grass state and ready to face the Morehead State Eagles (23-9) in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational Wednesday night. The game will mark CSUâ€™s first post season appearance since 2003.
Even though the CBI is a step below the NCAA Tournament or the National Invitational Tournament, Rams forward Andy Ogide said the team was more than happy to taste the post season.
â€œItâ€™s not any of those tournaments, but it shows progress,â€ the junior said. â€œFrom where weâ€™ve been the last couple of years we havenâ€™t had a chance to play any type of post season ball. Weâ€™re getting more wins now and starting to play in tournaments. Things can only improve next year.â€
CSU guard Adam Nigon agreed with his teammate and explained just how much appearing in this tournament means to the green and gold.
â€œItâ€™s good for the program,â€ the Broomfield graduate said. â€œIt gives our guys a chance to get some post season experience and keep playing in March which every team is looking to do.â€
While Rams head coach Tim Miles was glad to accept a place in the CBI, he said itâ€™s just another step towards achieving a higher goal.
â€œCertainly we are pleased and happy, but like everybody we aspire to be in the NCAA tournament. But this is good. We get to do more work, a chance to live another day and anyone who competes likes that.
The Rams enter tonightâ€™s game after struggling at the end the season. CSU has currently lost six of their last seven games including a heart breaking 72-71 loss to San Diego State in the opening round of the conference tournament.
In the game Ogide was ejected after throwing an elbow to a SDSU defender. The Georgia native said heâ€™s pleased the season doesnâ€™t have to end on that note.
â€œIt feels great,â€ Ogide said. â€œIt (the Rams last game against San Diego State) left a bad taste in my mouth and I didnâ€™t want to end the season not being able to help my team. Iâ€™m just glad to play and help my team get a win against Morehead Stateâ€
Morehead State, out of the Ohio Valley Conference, comes into the game winners in five of their last seven and with a 12 game home winning streak. The Eagles finished second in the conference behind Murray St. who is now in the NCAA tournament.
MSU is lead by forward Kenneth Faried, a 6-foot-8 junior averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds per game.
Nigon admitted that he doesnâ€™t know very much about MSU, but said he sort of likes it like that.
â€œI donâ€™t really know much about them at all,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s kind of up to the coaches to get us prepared for what they do. Weâ€™ll watch some film on them to try and get a feel for them, but at the end of the day itâ€™s just coming out and competing more than anything.â€
Ogide agreed and said heâ€™s just happy to play.
â€œI donâ€™t really care much about who Iâ€™m playing against,â€ the second team all conference selection said. â€œThey have to guard me to so Iâ€™m just going to go into the game doing whatever coach tells me to do as far as the defensive scheme and go from there.â€
Tip off of Wednesdayâ€™s game is scheduled for 7 pm and can be seen on HDNet. Stay tuned to collegiansports.com for post game news and reaction.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org