Coming off a successful 2011-12 season resulting in a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament, the Colorado State Rams are one of the best non-conference opponents the Washington Huskies will face this year.
Losing only two key contributors in Will Bell and Jesse Carter, the Rams return their top four leading scorers this season. However, their biggest contributor is a big man that wasn’t eligible last year; Colton Iverson.
Iverson has been a man among boys thus far after playing sparingly at Minnesota in his first three years. Now a redshirt senior, the monstrous 6-foot-10, 261 pound center is averaging 17.3 points on 67 percent shooting while pulling in 10 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game. On the offensive side of the ball, the South Dakota native much resembles former Montana Grizzly Brian Qvale, who gave Washington troubles in the 2009-10 year.
Averaging seven foul attempts a game and shooting 76 percent from the line, Aziz N’Diaye and his average of three fouls per game could be in for trouble given the amount of offense that will finish in Iverson’s hands.
Without a natural pass first point guard, expect the Rams to toss experienced four-year starter Dorian Green at the one position.
A native of Lawrence, Kan., the 6-foot-2 senior will provide solid offense play with an average of nine points a game on 45 percent shooting and just 0.7 turnovers. However, his stats are a little skewed given his only one minute played in the whopping victory of Chadron State.
Starting alongside Green at the guard position will be senior Wes Eikmeier. A transfer from Iowa State, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard has spent the last three years as a starter for the Rams. Averaging 8.3 points a game so far, the Nebraska native has found himself in a fair amount of foul trouble thus far at 3.7 per game. However, last year, he led the team in scoring with 15.5 per game.
Now for the oddball: Pierce Hornung is a bit of a mister do-it-all for the Rams. A 6-foot-5 senior forward from Colorado, he averages 7.7 points, 12 rebounds, 2.3 steals and one block a game. Packed full of heart and energy, this small interior presence will be a menace for Washington all game long. Think of a smaller Jon Brockman and you have Hornung pegged out perfectly. Many will try to block him out, very few will succeed.
Following an eight-year stint at Southern Mississippi, Larry Eustachy will manning the bench for the Rams, replacing Tim Miles who left for the Nebraska job.
With an all-time record of 405-258 since 1990, the 58-year-old Californian has had successful stints at every one of his previous four stops (Idaho, Utah State, Iowa State and Southern Mississippi). During that time, Eustachy has accomplished a winning record over Husky head coach Lorenzo Romar with a 77-72 victory on Nov. 23, 2001. At the time Romar was at Saint Louis and Eustachy at Iowa State.
However, Eustachy has never played Washington. In fact, the schools have only met twice in their history. In a home-and-home series in 1963 and 1964, each school respectively won on their home courts. At the time, those Husky teams were led by the likes of Ed Correll Lynn Nance, Clint Peeples, Gordy Harris and Bruce Brickner and the head coaches were John Grayson and Mac Duckworth.