Coming together, playing together and taking a game-by-game approach – sounds familiar but it wasn’t Murray State who said that.
No. 11 seeded Colorado State looks, plays and talks similarly to their opponent No. 6 seed Murray State Thursday in Louisville for the first game of the NCAA Tournament.
“We’ve just got a bunch of close guys, good team chemistry and guys that just play hard and got a lot of heart,” Colorado State’s Dorian Green said in a press conference Wednesday. “We’ve been called everything from ankle-biters to scrappy all year long. We always talk about (how) we don’t look like the best team in warmups, but we come out and play hard and execute well.”
With the Rams (20-11) seen as underdogs, Murray State (30-1) is reminded of their 2010 post season when conditions to win were unfavorable but were able to upset Vanderbilt with a buzzer beater to move into the second round.
“We did go back to the year that we were underdogs, and we just got to play like we’re still underdogs,” senior guard Jewuan Long said before practicing in the Yum! Center that afternoon. “We can’t take them for granted, can’t look past them. We’ve got to play with energy the underdogs play with. If we do that, hopefully we’ll come out successful.”
After watching five tapes of the Rams, Murray State Head Coach Steve Prohm is aware of the potential threat Colorado State has against the Racers.
“They’re one of the best shooting teams in the country,” Prohm said. “Their guards are good, they can all shoot the basketball. Watching them on tape, we have to do a really good job of defending the line. “
Rams’ Wes Eikmeier said the two teams will make a good game.
“I think we match pretty well,” Eikmeier said. “They’re pretty guard oriented and they have a lot of size inside and that’s kind of what we’re like.”
Despite the intense matchup, Prohm said the Racers are ready.
“I think our guys are totally focused, locked in,” Prohm said. “I’m excited. We’ve been blessed (and) this has been a blessed season. The locker room is very positive, our eyes are totally up, we’re totally locked in.”