Both Chadron State College basketball teams will open their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference schedules this weekend by playing at Colorado Mines on Friday night and at Colorado Christian on Saturday night in the Denver area.
The Eagles will host the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and MSU Denver the following weekend.
After completing their non-conference schedules, the CSC teams are still seeking their first victories. Both have shown promise, but are in building modes with new coaches and numerous new players who are still getting acquainted and searching for consistency.
The CSC men will have 6-6 junior Matt Reader, a two-time basketball letterman and also a receiver for the football team, available this weekend. Eagles coach Houston Reed said it will be helpful to have another tall and agile player available so a guard won’t have to defend against one of the opponent’s big men.
This weekend’s trip is expected to be a challenge for the Eagles.
The Colorado Mines women are the defending RMAC champions after going 19-3 in conference play last season. They may not be quite that strong this season. They went 3-5 in non-conference play. Three team members are averaging just below 12 points a game.
After going 24-8 overall and 17-5 in the RMAC a year ago, the Mines men were tabbed by the conference coaches as the preseason favorites for 2016-17. The Orediggers are 5-1 so far, losing only to Wayland Baptist of Texas 78-76. Their victories include a 73-69 win at Nebraska-Kearney.
Mines’ big gun is 6-5 senior Gokul Natesan at 20.2 points a game. He was voted the conference’s preseason co-player of the year along with Josh Blaylock of Fort Lewis.
The Colorado Christian women are coming off a 15-7 RMAC mark and were seventh among the 15 teams in this year’s preseason balloting. They are 2-3 in non-conference play this season, defeating Nebraska-Kearney 75-65 and Cameron of Oklahoma 81-78 in overtime. Both Alex Nelson and Kaitlyn Hinch, a pair of tall juniors, are averaging 13.4 points.
The Cougars’ men were 10-12 in league play last season and were 11th in this year’s preseason poll. They enter this weekend with a 3-3 record while shooting 50 percent from the field. Their leaders have been 6-2 senior Dimitri Saliba at 19.8 points a game and 6-5 junior Ty McGee at 18.5.
Brett Brady, another 6-2 guard, is chipping in 13.7 points a game and has sunk 19 of 43 three-point shots.