Sure, there are some similarities between the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the Colorado State Rams mens basketball teams this year. They both are making their first NCAA Tournament trip since 2003, and they are both number eleven seeds. But thats where the similarities stop. Two completely differently built teams with two completely different journeys to the "Big Dance." Do either of them stand a chance of winning their opening round games today?


CU plays the University of Nevada, Las Vegas tonight at about 8 p.m. MDT in Albuquerque.

Colorado was the snub of the tournament last season, and without getting hot at the right time and winning the PAC-12 Conference Tournament last week, the Buffs would have been watching the tournament again this year. Cu has never really been known as a basketball school. It is the program that produced Chauncey Billups. And there was the time the coach took a sledgehammer to the locker room as a not-so-subtle way of getting a construction project going.

Basketball took a backseat to a football program that, itself, struggled for relevancy after some troubled years. Jeff Bzdelik hoped to change that when he left Air Force to coach the Buffs in 2007, but after waiting a few frustrating months to see the start of a facility upgrade that wasn’t happening, he took a sledgehammer to the locker room. Five years later, the facilities — though not the arena — are new and sparkling, and 2nd year head coach, Tad Boyle, who has Northern Colorado roots, is getting a grip on what it takes to win at Colorado.


CSU got what many are calling a bad draw in their first round game. The Rams will face a one loss Murray State team, although a small school, who was ranked in the top ten nationally for more than half of the season. The Racers are also playing in their home state of Kentucky. It is the first game of the 64 team field, and begins at 10:15 a.m. MDT.

At the end of last season, the Rams finished a modest 16-16 behind Mountain West Conference powerhouses New Mexico, UNLV, BYU and San Diego State. Putting up a fight against these teams the following year was expected, but competing for a bid in the NCAA tournament?  No chance. They proved everyone wrong, and unlike CU, got it the hard way. Not winning their conference tournament, the Rams were selected as one of the best teams in the country and got an at-large bid into the "Big Dance."

CSU like CU is not known for their basketball program, in fact they haven't won an NCAA Tournament game since 1989. They did produce Kersey native Jason Smith who now plays in the NBA for the New Orleans Hornets. Outside of that, and one of the most colorful home courts in college basketball, most people outside of Fort Collins don't know much about CSU Basketball. They will learn today. With a game that starts at 10:15 a.m. MDT. No one else tips off until 10:40. It's the most exposure CSU will get all season. "I hope they don't bill us for the advertising," coach Tim Miles said, smiling. "Can you imagine what the bill would be? Think of how many millions of dollars it would cost to have Colorado State's name out there. Imagine the value of that. "It's great for our university. It's terrific for our basketball program. It's our opportunity. It's our time to shine. It will be the most-watched game in the world for at least a half hour."


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