The NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed last night, my personal favorite day of the year. If you’re anything like me you’ve been searching for a team that can make noise that’s gone under the radar. While they did get a pretty tough draw, likely having to deal with Tennessee and Villanova to even get to the Elite 8, the Colorado State Rams just might be the team for you.
For the record, I have the Rams reaching the Sweet 16, only losing that early because of meeting my personal runner ups, Villanova. One may ask why am I writing about them if I only have them winning two games? Others may not be as high on Villaova as I am, and if you aren’t the Rams should definitely be a prime candidate to make a run.
Coming in second in a very good West Coast Conference (although losing in the tournament semifinal) The Rams posted an overall record of 25-5. The Rams are led by junior guard, David Robby, who leads the team in points per game (19.4), rebounds per game (7.6), and blocks per game (1.1). Isaiah Stevens is the point guard of the team, who puts up 14.9 points per game of his own, as well as leads the team in assists per game with 4.8.
Size can be a problem for the Rams. Nobody in their top five of minutes played per game is over 6’5”. Colorado State is also below-average in rebounding rate as a team, coming in at 186th. This could definitely be a problem, but considering they are one of the smaller teams you might find, their rebounding rate is relatively impressive.
The numbers are on Colorado State’s side even if size isn’t. The Rams rank 20th on Kenpom in offensive efficiency. 23rd in offensive efficiency on Barttorvik, however coming in at only 41st overall. Looking at a deeper dive at their offensive numbers on Barttorvik, you really see how good this offense is. They’re 18th in effective field goal percentage. Ninth in two point percentage. 14th in the RPI rankings.
Defensively, they are average at best. Kenpom has them 83rd in defensive efficiency. Barttorvik has them 98th. They are 126th in defensive shooting percentage. On Kenpom, the Rams are 280th in adjusted tempo. This team plays slow, giving the opponent less time to make work of their small and average defense. This team is filled with upperclassmen, and older teams tend to do a better job at controlling the tempo. If the Rams are able to play at their own pace and make the offensive possessions count like the numbers say they should, they’re in business.
A quick look at the resume actually helps the Rams considering they play in a smaller conference. 5-3 in quad one games, 8-1 in quad two, and only one loss total in games below quad two.
If you are a believer in offensive ability reigning supreme in the tournament, this team is the one for you. They play at their own pace, and they play efficiently. They have experience, are battle tested, and are well coached. It blows my mind that no one is talking about Colorado State, and I would hate to be the low seed that has them in their bracket.