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No Eustachy to greet Lobos on road trip to Colorado State

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — If you’re tuning into Wednesday night’s UNM Lobos return to Fort Collins for the first time since a near brawl — first on the court and then in the parking lot — in the January 2017 game here, you might notice a few changes.

For starters, the Colorado State Rams (11-19, 4-13 Mountain West) are in 10th place in the 11-team conference after finishing second last season, one game back.

The Lobos (15-14, 10-6), who were picked to finish ninth this season, are playing to secure a first-round bye in next week’s conference tournament for a top-five finish, and still could finish as high as third.

Oh, and there’s this: There ain’t no “Noodles vs. Eustachy” coaching show anymore, either.

In fact, 38-year-old Paul Weir, who replaced the fired Craig Neal at UNM after last season, won’t even be the rookie coach in the game. Instead, 30-year-old Jase Herl will try to outsmart the old veteran Weir as CSU’s new interim head coach, including for tonight’s Senior Night game.

On Monday, CSU’s Larry Eustachy, the embattled coach who prior to the season said Weir had the worst job in America for taking over at UNM, resigned after a lengthy “climate assessment of the program” that looked into, among other things, charges he was verbally abusive toward players and created a culture of intimidation.

Had Eustachy, who had been on paid leave since early February and whose last road game in the MWC was an 80-65 loss at UNM on Jan. 27, been fired without cause, CSU would have owed him $3 million. Instead, Eustachy agreed to terms that will pay him a $750,000 separation after six seasons with the Rams.

“At the end of the day,” Eustachy said in a statement, “it’s time for me to step aside and allow Colorado State to open a new chapter of Rams basketball. Likewise, this also gives me a chance to hit the reset button and then put all my energy into future opportunities. As hard as it is to step away from these players and my staff, it is the right decision at the right time for all concerned.”

Weir said he doesn’t know the situation, or Eustachy, well enough to want to comment.

AND THERE’S THIS: This will be UNM’s first return trip to Moby Arena since 14 months ago when Joe Furstinger set a hard screen on CSU’s J.D. Paige, dropping the Rams point guard to the court and nearly starting a fight when Furstinger flexed afterward.

New Mexico forward Joe Furstinger reacts to a teammate’s 3-point shot last Jan. 14, 2017, at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo. (Brian Smith/The Coloradoan via AP)

Lobo assistant coaches were ejected, and Rams senior guard Gian Clavell walked to media row late in the Lobos’ 84-71 win to tell reporters he promised CSU would pay the Lobos back in the Pit later that season, which they did.

After the game, when Emmanuel Omogbo, then a senior Rams player, and Eustachy walked to the parking lot next to UNM’s bus with Lobo assistants waiting, Omogbo and ex-Lobos assistant Terrence Rencher got into a verbal, nearly physical, altercation that was captured on video that made national news.

This will be UNM’s first return trip to Moby Arena since 14 months ago when Joe Furstinger set a hard screen on CSU’s J.D. Paige, dropping the Rams point guard to the court and nearly starting a fight when Furstinger flexed afterward.

Lobo assistant coaches were ejected, and Rams senior guard Gian Clavell walked to media row late in the Lobos’ 84-71 win to tell reporters he promised CSU would pay the Lobos back in the Pit later that season, which they did.

After the game, when Emmanuel Omogbo, then a senior Rams player, and Eustachy walked to the parking lot next to UNM’s bus with Lobo assistants waiting, Omogbo and ex-Lobos assistant Terrence Rencher got into a verbal, nearly physical, altercation that was captured on video that made national news.

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