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Know the foe: Colorado State

Rangy Colorado State point guard Ellen Nystrom recently was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.

CSU Athletics | Don Reichert

Rangy Colorado State point guard Ellen Nystrom recently was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.



A look at No. 22 Colorado State, which faces USF in Saturday night's NCAA Tournament opener in Los Angeles

Nickname: Rams
Record: 31-1
RPI: 41
Record vs. top-50 RPI: 1-1
Conference: Mountain West
Coach: Ryun Williams (Fourth season at CSU, 90-36; 18th season overall, 348-189)

The breakdown: Much like USF, the Rams have built their program with overseas talent. Seven CSU players hail from foreign countries, with six from Europe. ... The Rams enter the postseason on a school-record 28-game win streak, but have played only one Power Five program, defeating Colorado by a point on Dec. 2. ... Four of their projected starters are 6-foot or taller, led by 6-1 point guard Ellen Nystrom (10.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.6 assists), the Mountain West Player of the Year. ... Defense, ball protection and scoring balance have been CSU's cornerstones so far. They rank sixth nationally in scoring defense (51.3 ppg) and ninth in turnovers per game (12.0), with four players owning double-figure scoring averages. ... Five players have converted at least 15 3-pointers led by 6-2 senior Jamie Patrick (86-for-210).

Odds and ends: CSU is one of five teams in Division I with fewer than two defeats, and the third one USF will play this season (Baylor and UConn are the others). ... The Rams were the only Mountain West team to not have even one player average at least 10 shot attempts in the regular season. ... Nystrom's only points in the Mountain West tournament final were a pair of free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining, lifting the Rams to a 55-54 victory against Fresno State.

Jose Fernandez's take: "They're a very good basketball team, they're very well-coached. We're gonna have to do a great job defending the arc. ... They've got some very, very good basketball players, and they do things well. They're very, very efficient. They don't foul, they don't turn it over and they defend you. I'm surprised, they're a lot better than an 11-seed."

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 9:36pm]


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