Games donâ€™t get much bigger than this for the CSU Rams menâ€™s basketball team.
The Rams (15-14, 6-9 MWC) should have little trouble getting up for their showdown with the Utah Utes (14-15, 7-8) Saturday in Moby Arena.
Not only is CSU playing for the fifth seed in the upcoming conference tournament and a winning regular season record, but also trying to stop a five-game losing skid. To top it all off, Saturday marks senior day.
Travis Busch, a senior, said that heâ€™s trying to focus on the importance of Saturdayâ€™s game to the whole team, not the fact that it will be his last in Moby Arena.
â€œPersonally, you want to go out on the right foot (in your) last game at Moby,â€ the forward said. â€œItâ€™s senior day and all that stuff, but that needs to go on the backburner because thatâ€™s not the most important part of this game. We have to get the win, so I canâ€™t let my emotions get the best of me.â€
Rams head coach Tim Miles agreed about the weight of Saturdayâ€™s regular season finale and said everything is now a one-game season.
â€œOur kids have worked hard, despite this recent slide, to put themselves in a unique position,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m not sure the last time CSU played a game where there was this much on the line. Itâ€™s a big, big game, and I think our guys are excited about that.â€
With a win, CSU will clinch a fifth seed going into the MWC Championships, a spot that will likely pit them against UNLV in the opening round. With a loss Saturday, the Rams would likely have to face SDSU.
Utah enters the contest coming off a hard fought loss to BYU but winners in two of their last three. With a win Saturday, the Utes would clinch the No. 5 spot in the MWC tournament, one spot above CSU.
The Rams prevailed in their first meeting with Utah this season, pulling out a 65-50 win in Salt Lake City. CSU senior Harvey Perry said he expects a tougher game this time around.
â€œI know they are a tough-nosed team,â€ the guard said. â€œIâ€™m pretty sure they have our personnel down, and itâ€™s going to be a battle for the seniors and the rest of the team.â€
Even with so much on the line Saturday, Miles will use senior day to give his team even more motivation.
â€œItâ€™s important to coaches and underclassmen to send them (the seniors) out on a good note and on an exciting note. Those guys will always remember their last game at Moby.â€
Tip off for Saturdayâ€™s game is set for 1:30 p.m.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.