CSU men’s basketball is making a home on the road to begin the season.
After a three-game tournament in Oregon last weekend, the Rams (2-1) travel to the Midwest to play their fourth straight road game to open the season, going up against the Indiana State Sycamores (2-1) tonight in Terre Haute.
Head coach Tim Miles said four straight road games is a lot.
“That’s plenty (of road games). That’s just the way the schedule worked and falls sometimes,” Miles said. “It will be a tough road game and will be a good test for us to find out where we’re at.”
Tonight’s contest marks the second game of the inaugural Mountain West Conference/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge. The challenge is in the first year of a four-year agreement between the two conferences.
Indiana State, picked in the preseason to finish seventh in the 10-team conference is led by guards Harry Marshall and Jake Kelly.
An All-MVC pick last season, Marshall is averaging 9.3 points per game.
Kelly transferred from Iowa after a season in which he earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors, was granted a hardship waiver and is immediately eligible this season. In three games with Indiana State, he has averaged 11.7 points per game.
“They were picked to finish middle of the pack in the MVC without him, but with Kelly, I think that moves them to the echelon of that conference,” Miles said.
With an improved defense, the Rams will have to find a way to slow down Kelly.
“Our team defense has been decent. I think Indiana State can really get it going offensively so it will be a good test for our defense,” Miles said.
Led by forwards Andy Ogide and Andre McFarland and freshman point guard Dorian Green, the CSU offense is averaging 67.7 points per game, but Miles said many points are sitting on the bench.
Guards Jesse Carr and Travis Busch are both out with significant injuries and aren’t expected to return until mid-December or January. Busch has a torn ACL and Carr is dealing with an injured hip.
“That’s about 25 points for our offense from those two guys. That’s a lot of points sitting on the bench, and you’ve got to manufacture points in other ways,” Miles said.
Miles said McFarland is only at “75 percent” suffering from lower back and leg injuries. He came off the bench during the tournament in Oregon and averaged 13.7 points per game.
Miles said the offense has been stagnant at times, partly due to starting Green, a true freshman, at point guard.
Green, though, has taken to the learning curve quickly, averaging 12 points and 3.3 assists per game.
“It’s been a pretty big learning curve, but it’s been a smooth process so far. I’m just trying to pick up little things that I really didn’t have to do in high school,” Green said.
The Rams will return to Moby Arena to make their season home opener against Mayville State on Tuesday.
Men’s Basketball Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.