The BYU Cougars close out the basketball regular season with a 3 p.m. game today against Colorado State. Although the Cougars don't have a shot at the WAC championship, there is still considerable intrigue involved.
Colorado State is tied for the WAC lead with an 11-4 record (19-8 overall). BYU is in fifth place with a 7-8 record (14-13 overall).A victory for the Rams would assure them at least a tie for the WAC championship - CSU's first ever in basketball. It would also give them the No. 1 seeding in the WAC tournament next week.
The Rams moved a step closer to the milestone by erasing Utah 75-64 in the Huntsman Center Thursday night. BYU is coming off a 71-67 win over Wyoming.
While the Rams are tied for first place (with New Mexico) and have won eight straight games, the Cougars are nearly as hot. After bowing out of the league race early, BYU has caught fire and won five of its last six. The Cougars routed CSU 84-69 at Moby Gym on Jan. 21.
Playing BYU has never been an easy proposition for the Rams. CSU is looking for its first sweep of a Utah-BYU series since 1954, when the teams were members of the now-defunct Skyline Conference. The Cougars have won their last eight games against CSU; the Rams' last win in Provo was in 1977.
In the first meeting this year, BYU charged to a 12-point first-half lead and never allowed the Rams to catch up. Down the stretch the lead reached 18 points.
Despite CSU's high standing in the league, BYU Coach Ladell Andersen said his team may be better suited to play the Rams than Wyoming. "The only thing I can say is that we match up better against CSU in terms of quickness," said Andersen. "CSU is playing very well now. We'll have to be on top of our game. We can't play like we did (Thursday night) and beat CSU."
The Cougars committed 19 turnovers in the win over Wyoming.
BYU continued to shoot and rebound well against Wyoming, which made up for atrocious ball handling. The Cougars made 56 percent of their shots and out-rebounded the Cowboys by eight, 26-18.
The game will be shown live on KUTV-Channel 2.