No. 20 Colorado State (6-0) is riding a high right now, landing in the AP Top 25 for the first time since March 2022. That, thanks to the dominant win over No. 8 Creighton on Thanksgiving Day.

And their intrastate rival, the Colorado Buffaloes (5-1), know a thing or two about being ranked; they were at No. 18 before a loss to Florida State last week.

But that’s just where the similarities begin for these two great teams from the Centennial State.

Tonight, CSU and CU renew their rivalry and the game which led to the “Little Brother” nickname Colorado fans have for Colorado State, coined by Spencer Dinwiddie in 2012. The Rams and Buffs tip off at 7 p.m. MT at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, and the game is both a sell out and a stripe out, with each section wearing either white or green.

Colorado State, Colorado led by dynamic guards

On one side you have Isaiah Stevens, playing well enough to win Mountain West Player of the Week last week, and on the other is KJ Simpson, who’s also balling out.

Stevens is playing so well, Jon Rosthstein said he looks like an All-American, and his 7.8 assists per game are currently second-best in the nation. His great passing is leading to easy buckets for his Rams teammates, and CSU is currently 3rd in field goal percentage (53.9%).

On top of that, Colorado State is 5th in assists per game (21.4).

The Rams guard holds the assist advantage, but the Buffs guard is the better scorer currently.

Simpson leads the Buffs with 18.3 points per game, while Stevens leads the Rams at 17.5. The difference is Simpson is a streaky shooter from 3-point range and he can be a volume shooter on some nights, too.

For instance: He scored 15 in the loss to Florida State, but went 5-22 to get there. Currently, both guards are shooting ridiculously well, at 56.5% for Simpson and 58.8% for Stevens, respectively.

Simpson, at 6’2″, will hold a height advantage against Stevens tonight, so keep an eye on that. If the CSU star can involve his teammates like he has all year long, it’ll go a long way in helping the Rams win.

Both CSU and CU shoot well, score with ease

As stated earlier, the Rams made a sensational 53.9% of their field goals, which is third-best in the nation. But CU isn’t too far behind, knocking down 50.3% of their shots (25th).

Similarly, both teams shoot well from downtown, too, with the Buffs holding the advantage. They are seventh-best in the country at 42.1%, while CSU makes 39.1% (27th).

Both Tristan Da Silva and Julian Hammond make 50% of their 3-point attempts this year, and Colorado State needs to focus on maintaining strong perimeter defense tonight.

All that great shooting leads to high-scoring teams. CSU scores 84.7 points per game (35th) while CU is right behind at 82.7 (52nd). So, we could be in for a high-scoring affair this year.

Patrick Cartier questionable for Rams

Patrick Cartier has been listed as questionable to play for CSU tonight.

If he can’t go, that’s a big blow.

CU has the boarding big man Eddie Lampkin who averages 8.2 rebounds per contest. He comes in at 6’11” which means Cartier will be a bit undersized (6’8″) even if he does play.

The Rams will have to call on freshman Rashaan Mbemba again if Cartier’s back doesn’t allow him play. Mbemba played well against Creighton when he was inserted into the lineup after Cartier was injured.

CU holds a big rebounding advantage—38.5-32.8—and playing without Cartier will hurt the Rams rebounding even more if he can’t go.

And one more note: Nique Clifford is playing against his former team in the Buffs tonight. He’s currently averaging 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Rams as a crucial piece of their winning puzzle.

A win tonight will mean Colorado State staying in the Top 25 and defeating their in-state rivals. A win for CU would mean a big upset of their rivals in an away game.

The game tips off at 7 p.m. MT and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.