Colorado State runs past Missouri
by Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Before the drunken pictures, before the rehab and before the coaching redemption, Larry Eustachy was on the verge of becoming a star. His teams at Iowa State were so good, in fact, so tough, that he was very likely next in line at Louisville in 2001 had Rick Pitino turned it down.
Eustachy never got a Cadillac job like that, and the embarrassing night at a frat party in 2003 ensured that he never would.
So when Eustachy got back to the NCAA tournament last season with Southern Miss, he savored it. Maybe too much.
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“I was just kind of excited to be there,” Eustachy said.
The same, perhaps, could be said about Colorado State, which unexpectedly made the tournament last season as an 11 seed and bowed out quickly to Murray State.
But this time, there was nothing about this trip to relish for either coach or senior-laden team – at least, not until the dissection of Missouri was complete Thursday night, 84-72.
“We intended on winning the game, and that’s a big difference,” Eustachy said. “Our mindset was terrific, and you couldn’t do that with freshmen. It took men, and they bought into everything I’ve talked about.”
Of all the terrific stories in this tournament, few are better than what has resulted from the marriage of Eustachy, a tough-minded tactician, and a program that needed an extra little bit of something to push beyond its historical boundaries.
A year ago, Colorado State finished 268th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage and 68th in defensive rebounding percentage. This year, those numbers are second and first, respectively, and that focus paid off Friday on the biggest stage possible.
All those broad shoulders and long arms in Missouri uniforms were helpless against the technique and tenacity of Colorado State, which won the rebounding battle 42-19 and had a seemingly infinite advantage in toughness.
“I think with coach and his staff, their specialty is what we like the most,” said point guard Dorian Green, who scored 26 points and thoroughly outplayed his counterpart Phil Pressey. “It was just … [For more on With winning mindset, Colorado State runs past Missouri, click here.]