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Florida State basketball faces Colorado State in Jamaica

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NCAA Basketball: San Diego State at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After Friday’s defensive gem against Fordham, it’s time to move up a step in difficulty as FSU faces a solid Colorado State (2-1) team. The Rams were the surprise of the Mountain West Conference last year, finishing 2nd in the regular season, and nearly making a run to the NCAA tournament. That team, however, graduated two First Team All MWC players (including the player of the year), so this appears to be a bit of rebuilding season.

The Rams are led by a solid, if unspectacular, back court. Juniors Prentiss Nixon (12.7 ppg, 3.0 apg) and JD Paige (10.7 ppg) will be mainstays in the lineup all year, and will both probably average over 33 minutes a game. They also earn rave reviews from coach Larry Eustachy for their defense.

But it is two frontline players that have the coach talking about the NBA. Deion James, a 6-8 junior who was a JUCO player of the year, has the size and athleticism to dominate in a conference like the Mountain West. So far he’s averaging 10.7 ppg.

The other headliner is 6-11 sophomore Nico Carvacho, who already has an 11 point, 20 rebound game this season. He’s the best post player we’ve seen on the short season, and will challenge Christ Koumadje and Ike Obiagu.

Two other players to watch are 6-6 senior Che Bob, a high volume player who is also a great rebounder, and 6-4 junior Robbie Berwick, who Florida State fans will remember from his season at Florida State. After two surgeries, Berwick finally seems healthy.

The Seminoles struggled offensively in their first game in Jamaica, as did Colorado State. This is an opponent against which FSU will need to play a cleaner game.

Larry Eustachy’s teams typically play fairly slow, don’t turn the ball over, and don’t force a lot of turnovers. If FSU’s defense can significantly disrupt this team, then that will be a great sign.

The game tips at 5 PM and will be broadcast on CBS Sports. FSU opened as 12.5 point favorites.