College basketball in Colorado is on the rise, as evident by these five 'Must See' games taking place on the Front Range.
With the resurgence of the Colorado Buffaloes and Colorado State Rams, plus a potential Big Sky conference champion in the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado can boast some great hoops action. Each of the local schools, in fact, have a home game that any college basketball fan should attend, either because of who they are playing or what might be on the line. So let's dive into the best game for each of the five universities in Colorado
Kansas St. Wildcats Vs. Colorado Buffaloes - Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011
Colorado is on the upswing. From last place in the Big 12 two seasons ago to eighth place last season and a projected NCAA birth this season, the future hasn't been this bright in Boulder in a long time. Another team on the upswing? Kansas State. The Wildcats are projected to place first in the conference, something no team outside of Lawrence, Kan., has been able to do in seven years. This game also comes at a crucial time in the Buffs' schedule, as they face Kansas the following game. If you want to see two up-tempo teams playing all out, this is the game for you.
San Diego State Aztecs Vs. Colorado State Rams - Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011
The Mountain West Conference had one of the best teams in the country last season in the New Mexico Lobos. This season they might not have the same national power, but San Diego State is the coaches' choice as the team to beat in conference. While coming in fifth in the rankings might not lead someone to believe that Colorado State will battle for conference supremacy, there is talk in Fort Collins that this year's team will be better than projected. If that is true, and if the Aztecs live up to their billing, this match-up could help to determine the MWC champion.
BYU Cougars Vs. Air Force Falcons - Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011
To say that the Air Force Academy struggled last year would be putting it mildly. The Falcons only won one conference game, and head coach Jeff Reynolds' team isn't predicted to finish any better this season. So what can Air Force fans get excited about? Even with those low expectations, the Falcons can expect to be on SportsCenter when they face Brigham Young. Why? BYU guard Jimmer Fredette is one of the best returning guards in the country, evident by his selection to the preseason AP All-American team. Coupled with conference preseason freshman of the year, Kyle Collinsworth, BYU makes visiting Clune Arena a must-see event.
Florida International Golden Panthers Vs. Denver Pioneers - Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011
You may have heard that Isiah Thomas now coaches Florida International. An otherwise laughable program, one that finished 7-25 last season, FIU now is one of the must-see teams in the Sun Belt Conference. It might be that you attend so that you attend just to see how bad Isiah is at coaching, but you must go this year. With all the rumors swirling about Isiah leaving at any point for the NBA, this may be the only opportunity you get to see him in action.
Weber State Wildcats Vs. University of Northern Colorado Bears - Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
The Big Sky conference might not be the most prestigious in all the land, but their tournament champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. That could lead to a chance for them to shock some people. And the best way to win the tournament? Finish the regular season with the best record and secure the top seed. This year the media has picked Weber State and UNC first and second in their preseason poll, so this game will have an impact on who makes the big dance. Also, in a strange scheduling twist, both teams play each other in the next game. This one will be in Ogden, Utah, so one might argue that the winner of this game has less pressure to win the following game.
See all of you at an arena this season.