Colorado State University's Carr fights to get his shot off under pressure from Murray State University's Canaan during the first half of play in their NCAA basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville

Colorado State point guard Jesse Carr out for season with torn ACL

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Even with Tim Miles leaving Fort Collins to become head coach at Nebraska there was optimism about Colorado State’s hopes in 2012-13.

Larry Eustachy left Southern Miss to fill the vacant head coaching position and with many of their key contributors from last season’s NCAA tournament team back the Rams were thought to be capable of returning to the Big Dance.

While that goal remains on the table thanks the returnees and transfers Daniel Bejarano and Colton Iverson becoming eligible, Colorado State suffered a key loss as senior guard Jesse Carr tore his ACL and is done for the year.

The news was first reported by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.

Carr started just five games as a junior but he was a vital cog in the Colorado State rotation, as he averaged 7.2 points and 2.7 assists per game.

The Ainsworth, Nebraska native was CSU’s leader in assists last season, but while his injury does hurt the Rams they’re capable of accounting for his loss.

Bejarano was a lights-out scorer in high school but couldn’t crack the rotation in either of his two years at Arizona, and Carr’s injury opens up even more playing time for him this season.

As for the ball-handling chores it’s more than possible that Colorado State can divide those duties between Wes Eikmeier and Dorian Green, something they did last season.

Both averaged at least two assists per game (forward Pierce Hornung averaged 1.7 apg) with Green’s 2.4 making him the team’s leading returnee now that Carr is sidelined.

Wabash Valley College transfer Jonathan Octeus could also factor into the perimeter rotation, which will compete in a Mountain West that’s become even stronger with the arrival of Nevada (led by stellar point guard Deonte Burton) and Fresno State.

UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico are the favorites in the eyes of many while the Wolf Pack have the perimeter play needed to make a splash in their debut season in the conference.

But while losing Carr certainly hurts, Colorado State has the parts needed to account for his absence.

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

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: