Colorado State vs Utah State: 2021 Mountain West game preview, TV schedule

The Mountain West features what could be a real bubble-elimination game between Colorado State and Utah State, where the loser may be off to the NIT.

TV schedule: Friday, March 12, 11:59 pm ET. CBSSN

Arena: Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada

Throughout the past month, one of the top storylines from a Bracketology standpoint was how many teams from the Mountain West would get a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Regular season champions San Diego State is a lock, while Colorado State, Utah State, and Boise State are all projected to be on the bubble and could go anyway this week.

So far in the quarterfinal rounds, we nearly saw Wyoming upset the Aztecs, while Boise State fell to Nevada, meaning that their fate is now in the hands of the Selection Committee. The Rams and Aggies each prevailed in their matchups on Thursday. Utah State beat UNLV, 74-53 behind 18 points and 13 rebounds from Neemias Queta.

Colorado State was able to beat Fresno State, 72-62 after several close calls. A late run by the Rams pushed them ahead for good, with Isaiah Stevens, David Roddy, and Kendle Moore combining to score 46 points in a balanced effort. The Bulldogs have shown themselves to be a threat towards the top teams in the Mountain West, so no shame in needing all 40 minutes to pull away.

In the regular season, these two teams split the games that were both at Utah State. This time though, it’s a neutral site battle. The Aggies with Queta has the edge on the inside, while the Rams have a solid set of perimeter and wing players that will cause fits for opponents.

Right now, there’s no consensus view as to whether Utah State or Colorado State is in the NCAA Tournament without the automatic bid. So there’s a reach chance that the loser of this game will join Boise State in the “out of luck” party heading into Sunday. This will be a hard-fought game but I think the Rams will have enough offense to get a win and make it to the Mountain West title game.

Prediction: Colorado State 71, Utah State 67