No place like Moby

CSU's Moby Arena is far from the most daunting place to play in college basketball. That title would likely go to Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium, which is feared by any opponent, men or women, on any given night.

Moby's not even the toughest place to play in the Mountain West Conference. The name of New Mexico's arena -- "The Pit" -- just about says it all. The Lobos lead the MWC in average attendance for both men (13,040) and women (6,845).

Last Saturday night, when the CSU women were in town, the Lobos drew 14,561 fans. Just when things seemed to be sailing in the right direction for CSU after huge back-to-back wins over Utah and BYU, and then getting their first league road win over Air Force, the Rams were throttled 74-54.

The story was similar for the CSU men when they played at The Pit, which featured 14,520 on Feb. 17. The Rams lost that night 82-72, despite handling the Lobos and former CSU coach Ritchie McKay 74-58 Jan. 13 at Moby.

So that's been the case much of the year for the CSU basketball teams: Win at home, try hard on the road.

Case in point: Men -- 13-3 at home, 1-8 on road. Women -- 11-1 at home, 3-10 on road.

Both squads will be back in town this weekend.

"The good news is we play our final three games at home and we are a very good team at home," CSU women's head coach Chris Denker said. "We are very similar to the Lobos in that we play outstanding basketball at home and struggle on the road."

After the women host Wyoming at 7 p.m. on Friday, they close out the regular season with UNLV on March 5 and San Diego State two days later. Continuing their dominance at home is key for the Rams to gain a quality seed for the Mountain West Conference Tournament. They now sit at No. 6.

As for the men, their final two home games of the year come Saturday against UNLV and Monday against San Diego State. They then finish the season on the road at Utah and BYU.

The men, losers of six straight (and the uncharacteristic victims of three straight at home), need a win in one of their final four games to secure a plus-.500 record. Considering No. 22 Utah is one of the hottest teams in the nation, and BYU has a remarkable record at home, a win is most likely to come at Moby.

CSU fell to UNLV 90-57 on Feb. 3 in Las Vegas, but grabbed it's lone road win of the year two days prior at San Diego State, 72-69. The Ram men are also No. 6 in the conference.


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