The Colorado State Rams come into the championship game with wins over Oregon State and Tennessee State. The wins came with two very different playing styles. In the first game, Willis Gardner had 20 points for the Rams. Today, Marcus Walker scored 43, and Gardner only had four. At first glance, this sort of offensive ability for a team in a more powerful conference might look insurmountable, but this is another team who isn’t deep. They only play eight guys, so if the Viks can tire out the starters like in the IUPUI game, they should have a shot. The Rams are a bigger, physical team than the others in the tournament. They have two 7-footers, and a freshman who is 6’9.” Walker shoots the ball the most, so Lucas putting pressure on as he did against George Hill is essential to the Viks’ success.
CSU: Stuart Creason PSU: Scott Morrison
This should be a big challenge for Morrison going up against a player who is the same size, if not bigger, and who is a talented scorer and rebounder. Scotty tends to come up with his better efforts in games where the pressure is on him, so he should have quite a few opportunities for some blocked shots. This senior, 7-footer match-up should have a real impact on the game, even if the points aren’t there.
CSU: Andre McFarland PSU: Tyrell Mara
Though Mara was able to explode for 18 points against IUPUI, his role for the remainder is probably about 10 points per game, tough defense and rebounding. McFarland is a 6’6″ freshman out of Las Vegas, and he should provide about the same thing for the Rams. I’m leaning towards Mara due to his added experience.
CSU: Josh Simmons PSU: Deonte Huff
Another true freshman starter for the Rams. He and Huff are the same size, but Huff is much more put together. I believe Huff should win this match-up because of his superior athletic skills and experience, but I wouldn’t count out Simmons from scoring 5-10 points in this match-up.
CSU: Marcus Walker PSU: Dupree Lucas
This is the battle of two former CC stars who have the ability to explode for points at times. Walker started his college career at Nebraska, while Lucas started at Xavier. If Lucas can find his offense, this should be a very exciting match-up. Because Walker has been hot recently, especially on Saturday afternoon, I’m leaning towards him.
CSU: Willis Gardner PSU: Jeremiah Dominguez
This is another bigger point guard match-up for Dominguez, probably similar to what he’ll see all year. Gardner should almost certainly score more points, but as Dominguez has shown so far, the game can’t be judged solely by points scored.
Unless Montana is ridiculously better than PSU, the Vikings should be able to beat the Rams. The Viks’ bench should see more time against CSU, and should hopefully be more effective, especially scoring. They will need to for PSU to have a shot in this one. I’ll pick the Vikings again, because it seems to be working for them.
Prediction PSU 76-74