The CSU basketball team returns to action Wednesday night when they face intrastate rival Air Force at Moby Arena.
The Rams (13-6, 3-2 MWC) will be looking to return to winning ways after a tough loss Saturday to No. 9 Brigham Young in front of a sellout crowd.
The Falcons (11-7, 2-3 MWC) have already had a more successful season than last year when they won only one conference game.
â€œAir Force is a good team, much improved,â€ coach Tim Miles said. â€œTheyâ€™re playing excellent, and we expect a heck of a game.â€
Despite not being one of the top teams in the conference, the Falcons provide a challenge with their deliberate offense and tough, matchup zone defense.
â€œPatience offensively,â€ said sophomore Dorian Green when asked what it would take to notch a win. â€œItâ€™s going to take a little bit to figure out the zone.â€
Air Forceâ€™s zone has been able to stifle opponents, ranking third in the Mountain West Conference and giving up only 63.3 points per game.
Defensively, the Rams will have to contend with the Princeton offensive system, which emphasizes lots of ball movement and passing and is heavy on back-door cuts.
It is not unusual for Air Force to use the entire shot clock before taking a shot. Their efficiency is shown by the fact that they rank 18th nationally in field-goal percentage, shooting just over 48 percent.
â€œDefensively, itâ€™s discipline,â€ Green said. â€œThey will take 35 seconds each trip, and we need to finish possessions with rebounds.â€
Miles knows that Air Force possesses a lot of quality and wonâ€™t be easy to beat.
â€œThey pass the ball well. Their transition is pretty good,â€ Miles said. â€œTheir ball movement and cutting is outstanding and their zone defense is as unique as you will see in the country.â€
CSU currently sits third in the MWC standings behind top-10 teams BYU and San Diego State. The Rams hold only a half-game lead over fourth place UNLV.
The Rams know that in order to reach the top of the conference they canâ€™t afford any slip-ups against teams below them in the standings.
â€œIf weâ€™re going to reach some of our goals this year we have to win, especially at home,â€ Green said.
Wednesdayâ€™s game is an early tip-off at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than usual.
Menâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go to the game
What: Menâ€™s basketball vs. Air Force
Where: Moby Arena
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
Media: The Mtn. (TV), 560AM (Radio)