I've become mildly intrigued with the CSU basketball teams this winter, partly because they've struggled so ridiculously. Sadie and I went to a few games and watched both teams choke early leads, miss open shots and make a lot of turnovers. The band was easily the most encouraging aspect of the games. Watching CSU basketball has been a little like witnessing a car crash: too horrific to watch but too captivating to turn away.
Going into the Mountain West Conference tournament, neither the men nor women had won a game in 2008, both had historic losing streaks and both went 0-16 in the conference. Boosters have particularly called for the women's head coach Jen Warden's walking papers.
The women beat UNLV, another pretty poor team, last night in the tourney play-in game to bump their season record to 3-27. Then the men followed today by eking out a win over Wyoming in their play-in game. Those were both moral victories as much as anything.
But tonight the CSU women have just beaten Utah, ranked 15th in the country, winners of 20-something in a row and undefeated in the conference. I was thoroughly impressed after watching them on the Mtn. network. The win is probably the biggest women's basketball upset ever in the Mountain West and maybe the biggest women's basketball upset in the country this year.
Senior guard Sara Hunter and I have been trading emails and phone calls for a possible story that was supposed to be on her team playing through tough times, but I guess I'll have a few more questions for her whenever the players get back from the conference tournament in Vegas (or if I finally catch her on the phone tomorrow). In the meantime, I hope the players are hitting the blackjack tables tonight.
The men will try to beat the nationally ranked, conference top seed, BYU, tomorrow. The women next play on Friday afternoon against New Mexico. I'm not going to speculate about how if they win two more games, they'll be in the NCAA tournament, but that would earn them some pretty serious props on Sportscenter.