Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett reacts on the bench against the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the second half at Capital One Arena. [Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports]

Virginia Faces Colorado State To Start March Madness

March Madness starts tonight for Virginia and Colorado State. The teams are on the edge of making the bracket as one of the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio.

The winner will be the No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region and face Texas. Lose and pack up their belongings, heading home for the final time this season. Tipoff is at 9:10 on truTV.


The two teams have different approaches to the upcoming game.

For Tony Bennett, it will be his 500th career game as the coach at Virginia (23-10). His focus will be on getting his team to Thursday night’s first round. Bennett said he embraces the challenge of Colorado State (24-10) during the pregame news conference.

Virginia has limited the opposition’s offense. Its competitors have scored an average of 59.6 points per game. Though, the Cavaliers have yet to score more than 84 points in any game this season. They average 63.6 points per game.

While they’ve beaten opponents such as Florida and Wisconsin at the beginning of the season, they’ve struggled against ranked opponents. At the end of the season, they lost four games against teams who made it to the NCAA’s March Madness.

A win against Colorado State would give Virginia its first win in the First Four and advance to the Round of 64.

Colorado State

Colorado State hopes to embody a roach: perseverant, durable and hard to eliminate. Both players and coaches have described what the word means to them, including CSU’s coach Niko Medved, who said the following during the pregame news conference:

The Rams are a scrappy team, never entirely blowing out their opponents. In their last four wins, they won by 10 or less points. However, they have proven to be efficient where it matters. Colorado State leads the conference in both assists per game and free-throw percentage.

They also have a 5-1 record in neutral territory. They beat both Creighton and Nevada, two schools who made it to the NCAAs. So, in tonight’s game, they have the chance to prove why they belong in March Madness.

What’s Next

The winner of the matchup will play Texas on Thursday at 6:50 p.m.  in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Longhorns are seeded No. 7 in the Midwest Region. Texas lost its last four games against ranked opponents in the regular season and lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament.

About Liana Handler

Liana Handler is a sophmore at the University of Florida, studying sports journalism.

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