Mountain West Basketball Tournament - Texas Christian v Colorado State

Can the Bahamas be a springboard for Colorado State?

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Three Mountain West teams are taking off-season trips this month, and each has the ability to factor into the league title race in some fashion.

UNLV, who will play games in Canada, is one of the preseason favorites to win the conference along with San Diego State (and New Mexico right behind them).

The other two teams, Colorado State and Wyoming, are coming off of successful 2011-12 campaigns with the Rams beginning the Larry Eustachy era after Tim Miles left for Nebraska.

With seven first-year players (five newcomers and two transfers) the off-season is a time for Colorado State to establish team chemistry.

The ten practices leading up to their trip to the Bahamas, in addition to the game action they’ll see once on the island, could end up being a major benefit for a team looking for back-to-back NCAA appearances for the first time since the 1989 and 1990 seasons.

Unlike last year’s team, which found a way to get to the NCAA tournament without much depth or a rotation player taller than 6-6, the Rams have both depth and size heading into 2012-13.

Minnesota transfer Colton Iverson and junior college forward Gerson Santo add the size while Arizona transfer Daniel Bejarano has the talent to join a back court rotation anchored by Jesse Carr, Wes Eikmeier and Dorian Green.

“We’re going to have depth, in positions we need to, too,” Eikmeier said. “The new guys coming in have blended in really well. Guys who have played a lot of college basketball are helping everyone along. The transition … has been a lot smoother and quicker than I thought it was going to be. That’s a positive thing.”

The added size will help out the likes of Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith, who along with the now-departed Will Bell held their own more times than not.

Even with their toughness the Rams were slightly below the middle of the pack in the Mountain West in most rebounding categories, and with the league improving those numbers will need to improve as well.

“I have all the respect in the world for the guys who did what they did last year. It’s amazing,” Eustachy said “Tim did a phenomenal job as I look at the guys and the numbers he dealt with. They had to use a lot of smoke and mirrors and won close games … and did a masterful job of staying together all the way to making the tournament.”

The arrival of Fresno State and Nevada (TCU left for the Big 12) will make the conference stronger, so a head start on the 2012-13 season can only help matters for Colorado State.

The Rams had Moby Arena rocking last season, especially for big wins over New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV. The first steps towards making sure there’s a repeat of that will be taken far away from Fort Collins.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.