Tonight, Northern Colorado travels to Colorado State to take on the Rams in what should be a fun, intra-state game. CSU is certainly favored, but Northern Colorado has the talent to pull an upset if they can win a few key areas. Here are three keys for them to be able to pull off an upset:
1. Hit their outside shots – More than anything else, the Bears best skill is their outside shooting ability. They led the country in three-point shooting last year, but are just shooting 37% from downtown so far this year. They have plenty of shooters, and they will need guys like Tate Unruh, Tevin Svihovec, Tim Huskission, and Paul Garnica to get (and hit) good looks from the outside. Without a big advantage from the three-point line, it will be a struggle for the Bears.
2. Rebound the basketball – This is one of CSU’s big strengths. In the opening game of the year that I went to, Colton Iverson was an imposing force down low, and the Grizzlies had nobody that could match his strength. On paper, UNC doesn’t really have anyone that can do that either. In addition, Pierce Hornung may be, inch for inch, the best rebounder in college basketball. CSU has the personnel to kill you on the glass, especially with offensive rebounds, so this will be huge for the Bears. Derrick Barden, the Bears need you tonight.
3. Take care of the ball – Turnovers were a huge issue last year, and it has continued this year, as the Bears are giving it away 16 times per game. Point guard Tevin Svihovec has been the biggest offender, giving it away four times per game (with a very small sample size). He simply hasn’t looked strong with the ball, and that is a big issue for them. The Bears need Svihovec to become a consistently good PG if they are to reach their potential and be a top 3 team in the Big Sky. He does a lot of things well, and if he can add ball security to that list, they will be very dangerous.
Score prediction – Colorado State 71, Northern Colorado 58
If UNC can do these three things, they have a chance to pull the upset. If not, it will be tough for them to go into Moby Arena and steal a win.
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