The Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver has been dead on arrival in recent years.

Too few wins by the Buffs and Rams on the gridiron have resulted in a sea of empty seats at Sports Authority Field.

However, Wednesday night's basketball game inside a packed Coors Events Center (8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network) has brought some much-needed spice back to Colorado vs. Colorado State even before tip-off.

Last season the CSU student body stormed the court at Moby Arena after the Rams' 65-64 victory. Apparently, the Buffs (6-1) don't want the C-Unit to return the favor if the home team wins this grudge match.

"You just kind of see when the little brother beats the big brother once, then they are going to be happy, they are going to rush the court," sophomore point guard Spencer Dinwiddie said after Tuesday's practice. "When we win (tonight), I don't think our fans are going to do that."

Before practice on Tuesday, CU head coach Tad Boyle showed his players a replay of CSU's postgame celebration.

Dinwiddie and other returning players were already reminded of last year's events in Fort Collins on Saturday night when Wyoming's fans celebrated the Cowboys' 76-69 upset of then-No. 19 CU on the floor at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

"It matters a whole lot," sophomore shooting guard Askia Booker said. "Coach showed us the film when they did storm the court, and it hurt. Wyoming just stormed the court, and it hurt. I'm not letting it happen three times."

Beating the undefeated Rams (6-0), who have matched the best start in the program's history, won't be easy. In fact, Boyle predicted CSU will win and out-rebound the Buffs "by 20" and "obliterate" his team if CU plays as it did in the double-overtime win over Texas Southern or defends as it did in the second half against Wyoming.

CU's foreign trip to Europe over the summer and early-season motivation to take down Baylor helped get the Buffs off to a fast start and gain entry into the national polls.

Now that opponents have film on Boyle's young team it has found life as the hunted much more difficult.

"We weren't hungry enough. We slacked on defense, and I kind of feel like the ranking was kind of getting into guys' heads," junior forward Andre Roberson said. "We just didn't come with the same intensity and sense of urgency that we had early on in the year."

CU and CSU both made appearances in the NCAA Tournament in March.

The Buffs lost some key leadership in senior starters Carlon Brown, Austin Dufault and Nate Tomlinson but added a top-25 recruiting class that includes Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson.

The Rams lost head coach Tim Miles to Nebraska, but Larry Eustachy, the former Iowa State coach, has inherited an experienced team used to winning.

Four of CSU's starters -- guards Dorian Green (12.7 ppg) and Wes Eikmeier (10.8 ppg) and forwards Colton Iverson (16.5 ppg) and Greg Smith (12.2 ppg) -- are seniors. Another key senior, forward Pierce Hornung, is expected to be back in the Rams' rotation Wednesday night for the first time since taking an elbow to the face during a 73-55 victory at Washington on Nov. 24.

"They're a better defensive team right now and they're more physical than we are and they're rebounding better than we are," Boyle said. "Those are the challenges we have to bring to (Wednesday night's) game. I like our team, I love our talent level, but our mentality has to change. This will be a great test for us."

Booker, the most valuable player of the Charleston Classic and CU's leading scorer entering the Wyoming game, was 2-for-13 from the field with six points during the Buffs' first loss of the season.

Boyle challenged several of his gifted scorers to bring a defense-first mentality to the floor going forward.

"I just have to get my teammates shots if they're going to double-team me," Booker said. "The shots are going to come. I'm not really worried about that. I just have to play smart and defend my man."

The 6-11 Scott, who was 1-for-5 with five points before fouling out in Laramie, will also have to regain his form. Led by the 6-10, 261-pound Iverson (11.2 rpg), CSU has the nation's top rebounding differential (+17.3).

"Coach Eustachy is doing an unbelievable job," Boyle said. "He's changed their mindset from an offensive one to a defensive one. That's pretty apparent when you look at their numbers."

After CSU's 22-17 victory over CU on Sept. 1 in Denver, the Rams finished 4-8 under first-year coach Jim McElwain while the Buffs went 1-11 and fired second-year coach Jon Embree.

Meanwhile, Boyle and Eustachy are a combined 12-1 so far this season with both programs receiving votes in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls this week.

"Colorado-Colorado State, everybody plays up the football game, they don't necessarily play up the basketball game until this year. Hopefully, this is a big game every year, whether we're playing in Boulder, Fort Collins, you've got to embrace it," Boyle said. "(Last year) we didn't play well, they beat us and they rushed the court. Wyoming rushed the court the other night.

"So we've got to understand that these teams want to beat us. We better have the same mentality to beat them."

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanThorburn

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: The Colorado Buffaloes (6-1) will play in-state rival Colorado State (6-0) at 8:30 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

BROADCAST: Television on Pac-12 Network with Jim Watson (play-by-play) and Brevin Knight (analyst). Radio on KOA (850 AM) with Mark Johnson (play-by-play) and Chad Brown (color). Follow on Twitter: @RyanThorburn.

CU STORY LINES: The Buffs suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday at Wyoming (76-69). ... Spencer Dinwiddie and Andre Roberson combined for 40 points on 14-for-23 shooting but their teammates only added 29 points on 10-for-35 shooting. ... CU, which was ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches, dropped out of the polls. ... Dinwiddie predicted a CU victory over CSU and that Buffs fans won't rush the court like Rams fans did after their team's 65-64 win at Moby Arena last season. ... Tad Boyle is 1-1 against CSU at CU and was 2-2 against CSU at Northern Colorado.

COLORADO STATE STORY LINES: The Rams are coming off a 79-72 home victory over Evansville. ... Colton Iverson recorded his fourth consecutive double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Greg Smith scored a career-high 19 points. ... CSU has won 17 consecutive games at Moby Arena and defeated Washington 73-55 in Seattle last month. ... If the Rams are able to win in Boulder the 7-0 start would be the best in program history.

KEY STAT: CU and CSU are both coming off NCAA Tournament appearances in March and both programs are currently receiving votes in the polls. The Buffs are 33rd in the Associated Press poll (44 votes) and 28th in the USA Today Coaches poll (41 votes); the Rams are tied with Wyoming for 39th in the AP (five votes) and are 41st in the coaches (three votes).

COACHES: Tad Boyle is 54-27 in his third season at CU. Larry Eustachy is 6-0 in his first season at CSU (408-258 overall, 22 seasons).

PROBABLE STARTERS: b-- F Andre Roberson, 6-7, So., 11.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg; F Josh Scott, 6-10, Fr., 13.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg; G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-6, So., 16.1 ppg, 2.4 apg; G Askia Booker, 6-1, So., 15.3 ppg, 2.9 apg; G Sabatino Chen, 6-4, Sr., 4.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg. Colorado State -- G Daniel Bejarano, 6-4, So., 6.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg; G Wes Eikmeier, 6-3, Sr., 10.8 ppg, 1.7 apg; G Dorian Green, 6-2, Sr., 12.7 ppg, 3.7 apg; F Greg Smith, 6-6, Sr., 12.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg; F Colton Iverson, 6-10, Sr., 16.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg.

SERIES: CU leads 86-36, including a dominant 51-8 record in Boulder.

UP NEXT: The Buffs will play No. 9 Kansas on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse (noon, ESPN2).