Thanks to their big, upset win over the New Mexico Lobos last night, the Colorado State Rams have locked in the No. 8 seed in the 2023 Mountain West Tournament.

The Rams finished the year 14-17, 6-12 in Mountain West play and their seeding hung in the balance of today’s UNLV-Nevada contest.

UNLV was able to come up with a huge upset of Nevada, defeating the Wolfpack at home for their first home loss of the season. Because the Runnin’ Rebels won, UNLV is now the seventh seed, with Colorado State in eighth.

The Runnin’ Rebels beat Nevada 69-67 in overtime, and it was the first home loss for the Wolfpack all year. UNLV improved 18-12, 7-11 MW. The win helped keep UNLV from tying with not only CSU, but also Fresno State, which would have meant CSU taking the No. 7 seed, Fresno No. 8 and UNLV at No. 9.

So, for the Rams, they will face No. 9 seed Fresno State on Wednesday, March 8 with a 12 p.m. MT tip-off.

The good news is, Colorado State went 2-0 against the Bulldogs this season, winning 79-57 and then 50-57. In the first win — the blowout — CSU shot a strong 54.7% from the field and 48.3% from downtown, while enjoying 26 assists in the contest.

In the more recent, closer game, the Rams out-shot the Bulldogs again, but it was much closer (45.8-39.7%).

When Colorado State has been at their best this season — like the two wins over Fresno State — they’ve gotten production from bench players like Joe Palmer, Jalen Lake and Baylor Hebb. They must have that in the tournament if the Rams are to win, first against Fresno State and then against San Diego State on Thursday at 1 p.m. MT.

The San Diego State Aztecs are 23-6 overall and 14-3 in Mountain West play. They also beat the Rams both times the two played this year. The win by UNLV shook up the Rams’ tournament because they would have faced Air Force in the first round and then Boise State in the second round. While the Broncos are very good, the Aztecs are the class of the conference and will take a gargantuan effort by CSU to beat them.

But, first thing’s first.

The Rams likely know they must bring their A-game against Fresno State or risk being a one-and-done in the tourney.

Not only is Colorado State fresh off a confidence-boosting upset win over New Mexico, but Stevens and Tonje are playing their best basketball of the year.

Stevens just set the single-game assist record for the Rams with 13 against a UNM team who had a combined 11 assists. Tonje led CSU in scoring on Friday night with 24 in the contest and he’s second on the team to Stevens (17.9) with 14.3 points per game this season. Patrick Cartier (12.3) and Isiah Rivera (8.9) are third and fourth, respectively.

But again, not only does CSU need strong bench play, but they have been extremely hot and cold from the 3-point line; they need to be decent from downtown to have a chance. And find ways to out-rebound teams despite their four-guard lineup.

8-seed Colorado State faces 9-seed Fresno State on Wednesday, March 8 at 12 p.m. MT at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV. It will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network.