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CSU Rams to face Virginia in First Four of NCAA Tournament in Dayton

The CSU Rams are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years — just barely.

Two days after falling to New Mexico in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament, the Rams are headed to Dayton and the First Four. The 10th-seeded Rams will take on fellow No. 10 seed Virginia on Tuesday night for the right to face No. 7 seed Texas in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday in the Midwest region of the men’s basketball bracket.

MARCH MADNESS: Printable bracket for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament

The Rams were listed as the last team in the bracket by the tournament selection committee, two spots behind Colorado, which will also be in Dayton to face Boise State as part of the First Four. It was a curious placement given that the Rams actually beat the Buffs earlier this season in Fort Collins.

This will be the Rams’ second trip to the Big Dance in six seasons under head coach Niko Medved, who is now 190-116 during his time in FoCo, and first appearance in the First Four.

Medved’s first tourney trip with the Rams, in 2022, ended after just one game with a loss to No. 11 seed Michigan in the opening round. The Wolverines advanced to the Sweet 16, while the Rams lost David Roddy to the NBA draft.

Senior point guard Isaiah Stevens and junior guard Jalen Lake were both a part of that squad. Now they will get a chance to deliver the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2013 under Medved’s predecessor, Larry Eustachy.

CSU (24-10, 10-8 MW) had an impressive run through its nonconference schedule, scoring wins over Boston College, Creighton, Colorado and Washington as part of a 12-1 start to the season.

The Rams lost four of five near the end of the regular season to fall into a tied for sixth in a deep Mountain West, then won a pair of games at the conference tournament before falling to the Lobos in the semis. New Mexico went on to win the tournament to earn the conference’s automatic bid into the tourney.

A total of six Mountain West teams are in the NCAA Tournament bracket.

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