Colorado State opens its first NCAA Tournament trip since 2013 as the opener for the entire Round of 64 against Michigan.
The Rams (25-5, 14-4 Mountain West) are a No. 6 seed in the South region, while the Wolverines (17-14, 11-9 Big 10) enter as the No. 11 seed.
Despite CSU being the higher seed, Michigan is favored by 1.5 points, according to Tipico Sportsbook.
The Coloradoan’s CSU sports reporter Kevin Lytle is on the ground in Indianapolis. Follow along here for live coverage of Colorado State vs. Michigan as March Madness begins!
How CSU fans are reacting after loss to Michigan in NCAA Tournament
The Rams’ return to March Madness was short lived after Michigan dominated in the second half.
From bitter disappointment to Mountain West reflections to thoughts on David Roddy, Colorado State fans and national observers had plenty to say after CSU’s first-round exit.
The tweet below is a sample, click the link below for more.
Full story:Fans react after CSU’s return to NCAA Tournament ends with first-round loss to Michigan
FINAL: Michigan 75, CSU 63
The Rams were rolling in the first half and looked like they’d get their first NCAA Tournament win in nearly a d
But the Wolverines overwhelmed CSU offensively in the second half and roared to a double-digit win as the Rams went cold down the stretch.
Full story:Colorado State basketball gives up 15-point lead in NCAA Tournament loss to Michigan
Down to the final seconds
CSU has kept battling but Michigan has been too much, especially at the free-throw line late.
CSU trails Michigan 74-63 with 43.7 seconds left.
Rams hanging by a thread
It’s been all Michigan in this second half, and CSU is barely hanging on down the stretch.
Since Michigan took the lead midway through the second half, the Wolverines have pushed the advantage to multiple possessions every time the Rams make a run.
And it gets tougher for CSU: Isaiah Stevens just fouled out of the game.
Michigan 66, CSU 58 with 3:27 left in the game.
CSU-Michigan coming down to the wire
The Rams haven’t played a great second half, but they’re still right in the game and trailing by just one possession.
Jalen Lake hit a key 3-pointer and David Roddy scored his first points in 13 minutes with a lay-in. Something to watch: CSU point guard Isaiah Stevens just picked up his fourth foul.
It’s Michigan 57, CSU 54 with 6:27 left in the game.
Michigan takes its first lead(s) of the game
The Wolverines are now the ones on fire beyond the arc, making four 3-pointers already in the second half. After Michigan went up 45-44, the Rams responded with five straight points on Chandler Jacobs’ And-1 bucket and a James Moore lay-in.
But Michigan responded right back with three straight 3-pointers and the Wolverines lead 53-49 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Michigan roars out of halftime
CSU got the first bucket of the second half on a David Roddy fadeaway to go up by 9. It’s been all Michigan since, as the Wolverines have gone on a 6-0 run and forced multiple Rams turnovers already.
It’s CSU 41, Michigan 38 with 15:30 left in the game.
CSU-Michigan halftime talk
Despite leading by seven points at halftime, the Rams didn’t exactly get a lot of love on the CBS broadcast.
The studio team of Ernie Johnson, Clark Kellogg, Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith and Charles Barkley talked about what Michigan needed to do, namely feed Hunter Dickinson inside.
However, they didn’t address much of anything CSU related during a two-minute halftime discussion about the game.
HALFTIME: CSU 36, Michigan 29
A very strong first half for the Rams was spurred by eight 3-pointers, including four alone from big man Dischon Thomas (12 points).
Isaiah Stevens has 8 points, while David Roddy has 7 points. Hunter Dickinson is leading Michigan’s offense with a dominant game inside and 12 points already. The Wolverines have yet to make a 3-pointer, going 0-for-7 from deep.
The Rams are also holding their own rebounding against a bigger Big 10 squad, outrebounding Michigan 15-14. The Wolverines have also turned it over nine times.
CSU gets lead to 15, Michigan quickly fights back
After another pair of 3-pointers from David Roddy and Dischon Thomas, CSU looked like it might run away with this one up 28-13.
Not so fast, though. Michigan got a 3-point play on the next possession, immediately followed by forcing a Roddy turnover that led to a transition dunk.
It’s CSU 28, Michigan 18 at the 3:54 mark of the first half.
CSU’s strong start continues
The Rams keep pressuring Michigan, forcing 8 turnovers already and getting a couple buckets in the fast break, both by Chandler Jacobs. The Wolverines are also 0-for-5 from the 3-point line.
Jacobs, a graduate transfer this season, has four points and has forced two turnovers in just four minutes off the bench so far.
It’s CSU 20, Michigan 13 at the 6:47 mark of the first half.
Our first David Roddy football reference
Hey CSU fans, did you know that David Roddy played football in high school? Even better, he was a QB!
We kid of course, because it’s a running joke for Rams fans by now. It only took 10 minutes into the game before the CBS broadcast crew broke out the reference, calling him a high-school football star while handling the ball on an offensive possession.
‘The pied piper’: David Roddy embraces role as a star attraction of CSU basketball team
Rams still up early on Michigan
CSU hasn’t been able to get much going inside yet, but the 3pointers have mostly been falling. And despite Landon Dickinson’s solid start (6 points), the Rams have been very solid defensively.
“We’ve done a nice job bringing help to the post, and our guys are playing hard,” CSU head coach Niko Medved told CBS sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl during the timeout. “On offense, we’ve had some 3s fall but we can’t just keep settling and have to be aggressive attacking the paint.”
CSU 16, Michigan 11 at the 11-minute mark of the first half.
CSU fans holding their own in Big 10 country
Despite being in the heart of Big 10 country, the Rams fans are making plenty of noise inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The lower bowl appears to be relatively sparse, and CSU fans are matching or even exceeding Wolverine fans’ intensity with the Rams out to a hot start.
Dischon Thomas, Isaiah Stevens each with two big early 3s for CSU
It’s been a frenetic start on offense for both teams but CSU has been ON FIRE from deep, making four 3-pointers in the first 6 minutes, with Isaiah Stevens and Dischon Thomas each going 2-for-2 beyond the arc.
It’s CSU 14, Michigan 9 at the first official timeout of the game. Fun one already!
CSU-Michigan underway in Indy!
The Rams and Wolverines tipped off their game and the NCAA Tournament moments ago in Gainbridge Field House.
Colorado State starting lineup vs. Michigan
The Rams are rolling with their usual starting lineup this season:
- Isaiah Stevens (G)
- Kendle Moore (G)
- John Tonje (G)
- David Roddy (F)
- Dischon Thomas (F)
CBS analysts talk, predict Michigan-CSU
The CBS studio analysts only briefly talked about the Michigan-Colorado State matchup during the pre-game show, but they gave their picks on the game.
Clark Kellog picked Michigan, saying they would play well and rise up in the absence of starting point guard DeVante Jones’ absence (concussion protocol).
Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith also picked Michigan, saying they’ll be focused with a chance to play up to their talent on the big stage.
Charles Barkley, however, went with the Rams. He said, “Michigan has been disjointed for the last month, I like Colorado State.”
Expect a close one
The Rams and Wolverines are extremely evenly matched by just about whatever numbers you use, so this should be a tight game.
Here’s a look at how the teams stack up statistically:
CSU-Michigan pregame reading
There’s been plenty of conversation about this game all week on the local and national scale. Here’s some pregame reading ahead of the Rams’ return to the NCAA Tournament:
▶️ Colorado State basketball embracing ‘surreal’ moment at NCAA Tournament
▶️ Here’s what Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard and players think of CSU
▶️ What do national experts think about Colorado State vs. Michigan basketball in NCAA Tournament?
▶️ CSU basketball NCAA Tournament central: Where to watch in Fort Collins, Rams’ travel issues, more
▶️ Colorado State basketball earns No. 6 seed in NCAA Tournament, will face Michigan
▶️ ‘We got complacent’: How a stern message from a walk-on helped launch CSU basketball’s season
You are looking live inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Gainbridge Fieldhouse was quiet two hours before game time but it will be plenty packed once CSU and Michigan take the court for an anticipated matchup in an already hoops-crazed state.
Tip-off is set for 12:15 p.m. ET/10:15 a.m. MT
Rams receive rowdy send-off
CSU got a rowdy send-off from the Rams’ team hotel, complete with Rams cheerleaders, the CSU Marching Band and hundreds of fans who made the trip from Colorado.
Chris Abshire is the sports and stats content coach at the Coloradoan. Contact him at [email protected]. Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism