State of Colorado well represented on first night of NCAA Tournament

Mar 19, 2024; Dayton, OH, USA; Colorado State Rams mascot “CAM the Ram” takes the court
Mar 19, 2024; Dayton, OH, USA; Colorado State Rams mascot “CAM the Ram” takes the court / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament officially kicked off Tuesday night with the ‘First Four’ in Dayton, Ohio. Two of the four play-in games occurred, including a battle between 10 seeds, the University of Virginia and Colorado State University.

Time to hop on the bandwagon

Nuggets fans looking for a team to back in March Madness may want to jump on the CSU Rams bandwagon, as the team from Fort Collins, Colorado looked dominant, beating the Cavaliers of Virginia 67-42. Frankly, the game wasn’t even that close.

Many pundits believed Colorado State got a raw deal with their seeding and shouldn’t have had to play their way into the dance. And they went out and backed that up with a commanding performance, leading from start to finish.

They pounced on Virginia with a big run to end the first half, opening up a 27-14 lead at the break. The Cavs missed 16 shots in a row at one point and were shooting 5-32 overall from the field. Their offense was virtually non-existent.

Scott and Clifford lead the way

But the Rams looked the part as well, led by their two stars Joel Scott and Nique Clifford. Scott put up 23 points and 11 rebounds while Clifford added 17 points and 10 boards. The Rams led 18-14 with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half when the game was flipped on its head.

Colorado State went on a 17-0 run that spanned the final 9:20 of the first half and the first 3:23 of the second half. Virginia went scoreless for over 12 minutes of game time, and the Rams lead got stretched from 18-14 to 35-14 before the Cavs finally got back on the scoreboard.

At that point, the game was all but over and the Rams were able to coast to victory, holding off the meager Virginia offensive attack.

The road ahead

Things will get tougher from here as CSU will now assume the 10 seed in the Midwest Region where they’ll take on 7 seed Texas on Thursday evening. If Colorado State can keep it rolling, they’ll likely face 2 seed Tennesse in the second round.