Nationally-Ranked CSU Has Goods To Quench NCAA Tournament Drought

Written By Ken Pomponio on 01/25/2022
CSU basketball off to 15-1 start.

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets garner the majority of the in-state basketball headlines in Colorado.

But the reigning NBA MVP and crew aren’t the only Centennial State hardwood success story this winter.

Far from it.

Up north, the Colorado State University men’s hoops squad is in the midst of a banner season.

The Rams are off to a 15-1 start — the best start in program history. CSU also is nationally ranked, checking in this week at No. 22 in the coaches’ poll.

Not at all a bad launch point for Colorado college basketball betting.

Guided by fourth-year head coach Niko Medved, Colorado State has won five of its first six Mountain West Conference games. Its only loss came Jan. 8 in a 79-49 defeat at defending MW champ San Diego State.

That puts the Rams third in the MW heading into Tuesday night’s nationally televised home date with Nevada. CSU’s 9-0 start at Moby Arena will be on the line in the contest.

The Rams are pacing the conference in a number of key statistical categories, including scoring (78.6 points per game), field-goal percentage (.502), 3-point accuracy (.384) and free-throw percentage (.800).

That’s almost certainly one of the main reasons why DraftKings Colorado Sportsbook likes the Rams’ Mountain West title chances.

With  odds, CSU trails only current conference leader Boise State () among the DK favorites to win the 11-team league.


Roddy-led Rams looking to punch NCAA tourney ticket

Who’s behind CSU’s success?

Medved is the most obvious answer after guiding the Rams to 20-win seasons in each of the last two winters. Last season, CSU finished 20-8 and finished fourth in the National Invitation Tournament.

But CSU basketball’s true heart and soul are juniors David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens.

Roddy, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound forward, is CSU’s leading scorer (18.7 ppg) and rebounder (7.8). He’s a returning first-team All-MW selection who’s tied for second in the conference in field-goal percentage (.577).

Roddy entered the current season with a career success rate of 23.5 percent from 3-point range. This year, he’s almost doubled that, hitting 44.7 percent of his treys to rank 10th in the MW.

Expanding a already-potent game in such dramatic fashion attracts national recognition. And Roddy has done just that, ranking 18th on ESPN’s recently updated list of the nation’s top 25 college players.

Stevens, meanwhile, provides the perfect complement.

And set-up man.

The 6-foot, 180-pound guard ranks 13th in the conference in scoring (15.1). He’s also third in the MW in assists (5.5) and ranks third nationally with an uber-efficient 3.52 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Ken Pomeroy and his metrics like what they see. As of Tuesday, the esteemed college hoops guru had CSU 37th in his national rankings.

It all has Ram Nation envisioning the program’s 11th all-time NCAA Tournament berth and first since 2013. The Rams getting an invite would definitely add some punch to Colorado March Madness betting.

Northern Colorado, CU looking like conference contenders


Colorado’s other four Division I men’s hoops programs aren’t nationally ranked or don’t possess gaudy .938 winning percentages.

But Northern Colorado (Big Sky) and Colorado (Pac-12) are in position to challenge in their respective conferences and also offer Colorado sports betting additional options to consider.

Coach Steve Smiley’s UNC squad is only 10-8 overall thanks to a rugged non-conference schedule. But the Bears are tied for second in the Big Sky with a 5-1 record.

The Big Sky, of course, is a one-bid NCAA tourney league, meaning UNC will have to win the conference tournament to punch the program’s second Big Dance ticket since elevating to the Division I ranks in 2007-08.

Still, the Bears — led by Big Sky-scoring leader Daylen Kountz (19.5 ppg) — figure to be right in the running after winning 21 or more games in three of the last four seasons.

CU, meanwhile, is 12-6 and 4-4 in the Pac-12.

The Buffaloes, though, are just coming out of a brutal schedule stretch where they dropped three of their last four games to nationally ranked Arizona, USC and UCLA.

However, battle-tested Buffs coach Tad Boyle doesn’t deter easily.

In his 12th season in Boulder, Boyle has guided the Buffs to the NCAA tourney in five of them. That includes last season’s 23-9 squad — Boyle’s best-ever at CU in terms of winning percentage — which walloped Georgetown 96-73 in the first round before falling 71-53 to higher-seeded Florida State.

CU women have struggled since 13-0 start

As for Centennial State women’s hoops, CU and CSU own the best current records at 13-4 and 13-5, respectively.

Colorado, in fact, was the final Division I team to lose a game this season, falling 60-52 to No. 2 and defending national champion Stanford on Jan. 14.

That was after the Buffs won their first 13 games to climb into the national rankings. CU hasn’t won since, though, dropping four straight to fall out of the top 25 and dip to 2-4 in the rugged Pac-12.

Coach JR Payne is looking to guide Colorado to its first NCAA Tournament since 2013.

And while women’s college basketball odds are scarce on the major online sportsbooks outside of the NCAA tourney, there are futures odds to be found on some sites.

That includes Caesar’s Colorado Sportsbook, which has CU tied for 36th at +30,000 (300-1) among the 42 favorites it lists to win the women’s title.

Photo by AP / Jack Dempsey
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Ken Pomponio

Ken is a fourth-generation Coloradan and career sports journalist with more than 30 years covering the gamut from the preps to the pros. A lifelong Front Range resident and son of 1960s Denver Broncos season-ticket holders, he is a long-time sports betting enthusiast whose insight and passion shine through in his coverage at PlayColorado.

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