The Ramsâ€™ season has followed a bit of symmetry from last season.
In January, the team lost three in a row to BYU, UNLV and New Mexico beginning Mountain West Conference play.
The Rams ended the three-game losing streak defeating TCU at home 63-57 Jan. 27.
Flash forward to now.
The Rams (15-12, 6-7 MWC) have lost three in a row to BYU, UNLV and New Mexico and again have a chance to end a three-game losing streak against TCU (12-16, 4-9), who the Rams square up against Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.
â€œThis is a chance to bounce back,â€ said freshman forward Greg Smith, who scored 15 points in the first meeting.
The game is also a chance to give the Rams a .500 record in the MWC â€“â€“ a far cry from the 0-16 record posted by head coach Tim Miles in his first year with CSU in 2007-08.
â€œWe need to beat TCU,â€ Miles said. â€œItâ€™s good that weâ€™re showing progress, but we want to be a player in this league. Fifth or sixth in the league is not being a player in my mind.â€
CSU is tied with Utah for fifth in the MWC standings.
The Rams nearly pulled off the upset over No. 10 New Mexico Tuesday, but itâ€™s a loss that still stings.
Junior guard Adam Nigon scored a career-high 23 points, including six three-pointers, but admitted he didnâ€™t sleep much after the teamâ€™s 72-66 loss.
â€œGuys were down the next day, and watching film we were disappointed because we did some things to cost us the game that we could have had, but we came out with intensity in practice,â€ Nigon said.
Miles wants to see that same intensity in the opening minutes against TCU. In the first match-up, the Rams were held scoreless four minutes into the game.
â€œWe didnâ€™t score for the first few minutes, so itâ€™s a miracle we even won that game,â€ Miles said.
â€œAny time youâ€™re on the road, you have to establish defensive intensity and donâ€™t turn the ball over.â€
The Ramsâ€™ offensive woes are no mystery as CSU ranks last in the MWC in both shooting percentage at 42 percent and assists at only 10.3 per game.
â€œOur offensive shortcomings have largely been due to the lack of guards,â€ Miles said. â€œWe have one guard and a bunch of wing players. Try playing football without a quarterback or wide receivers, itâ€™s the same thing. We have to get to the rim and score in different ways.â€
Defensively, the Rams need to stop sophomore guard Ronnie Moss. Moss is a play-making point guard, leading TCU in scoring (14.8) and assists (6.3).
â€œWhen heâ€™s locked in heâ€™s tough,â€ Nigon said. â€œHe can drive inside and kick it out to the wing for a three. We have to force him to go (to his) right.â€
Moss scored 19 first-half points against the Rams Jan. 27, but the Rams held him to only two points in the second half.
The Rams may be without Nigon, their fourth-leading scorer, due to a groin injury. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and Miles said he will be a game-time decision.
Tip off for the game in Fort Worth is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Menâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When: Saturday
- Time: 6:30 p.m.
- Where: Fort Worth, TX
- Watch: The Mtn.