Denver sport fanatics are given the pleasure of seeing both Colorado and Colorado State in the NCAA Tournament, and both teams will make their second consecutive appearance. For the Buffaloes, they will be in the tournament back-to-back years for the first time since 1954-1955. On the Rams side, they haven’t played in back-to-back tournaments since 1965-1966, and they will seek their first tournament win since 1989.
Colorado will square off with Illinois in the first round of the East region. Colorado pulled off a first round upset last tournament, as the #11 Buffaloes defeated the #6 UNLV Rebels last March. This matchup might be a little tougher, though. Illinois is a solid basketball team and beat two of the #1 seeds in the regular season. The Fighting Illini pulled off upsets against Gonzaga and Indiana, and they are the favorite heading into Friday’s game. The Fighting Illini are a 1-point favorite, and Spencer Dinwiddie needs to bring his A-game if the Buffs are looking to pull the upset.
When we head over to the Midwest region, we see a Thursday night matchup between Colorado State and Missouri. The Tigers are a 3-point favorite and are looking to bounce back from being upset last season when they were a #2 seed. Minnesota transfer Colton Iverson, who is averaging close to a double-double, will need to play at the top of his game. Missouri doesn’t have the talent they had a season ago, but the 23-10 Tigers will be a tough matchup for the #8 seed Colorado State Rams. Either way, the winner of this game needs to play Louisville second round. Hate to sound like a downer, but neither of these teams can beat Louisville, who, in my opinion, is a clear-cut favorite for winning the National Championship.
The Buffaloes play the Fighting Illini Friday, at 4:40 (EST), and the Rams play the Tigers Thursday night, at 9:20 (EST).