Menu Close

Colorado State vs. Virginia Expert Pick and Prediction – March 19, 2024

Colorado State vs. Virginia Expert Pick and Prediction – March 19, 2024 

COLORADO STATE VS. VIRGINIA EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – March 21, 2024 — Both teams thought they were safely in the field going into Selection Sunday. It turned out that neither team was anywhere near as safe as it thought, thanks to the committee punishing the Mountain West for past failures and bid thieves coming into the picture.

Colorado State probably isn’t here without winning two games in the Mountain West tournament. The Rams punched their ticket by knocking off Nevada, proving they could win a high-scoring game in the process. Colorado State is rarely in a rush to score, but the Rams came up big on offense when they had to against the Mountain West meat grinder.

Related: Duquesne vs. BYU Pick and Prediction

Virginia, on the other hand, limps into the tournament with little momentum and even less offense. The Cavaliers looked like they’d done enough when they survived overtime with Boston College and had NC State down three in the final seconds of the semifinals. But then the Wolfpack banked in a 3-pointer to force overtime and ended up winning the ACC title, stealing a bid and bumping Virginia into the First Four.

And that sets up a matchup that’s intriguing if you like defense and nightmarish if you’re John Fredericks. These teams will slow the game down and deny opponents looks at the basket, likely making for an ugly game in the late hours in Dayton. This is a rock fight, pure and simple.

The Odds 






Colorado State

(24-10 SU, 16-16 ATS) 






(23-10 SU, 17-15-1 ATS) 






When: Tuesday, March 19 at 9:10 p.m. EST 

Where: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio

TV: truTV

Public Bets: Unavailable 

Public Money: Unavailable

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of March 17th, 2024

Colorado State vs. Virginia In-Season Trends 

The Rams had one stretch where they played out seven unders in a row before the books got wise to their willingness to scrap. Colorado State still has been more of an under team, but they’ve actually been far more aggressive in their victories. Only twice all year — Creighton and San Jose State — has CSU scored less than 70 and managed to win the game.

Colorado State tends to be pretty consistent with where their opponents land, as most games usually find their way into the mid 60’s for the opposition. When they can’t get there themselves, things usually don’t go their way.

Virginia has just been plain bad on offense. Ironically, the Cavaliers have played out four overs in their past five games, but that was in part because they got to play overtime twice. Virginia didn’t break 66 points in either game at the ACC tournament, and the Cavaliers have managed to come in under 50 four times in their past eight games. When Virginia isn’t hitting 3-pointers, there really is no plan B.

The Difference-Makers 

Joel Scott has made himself big as of late for Colorado State, and he’ll need to do that again in this game. Scott and running mate Patrick Cartier excel at low-post scoring, and Virginia’s interior defense is a rare weakness this season. In the Rams’ Mountain West semifinal loss to New Mexico, Scott certainly wasn’t the problem, scoring 20 points on 9-for-16 shooting.

The Rams lost that game because of poor deep shooting, something Virginia can successfully take away. The Cavaliers excel at defending the arc, so Scott and Cartier have to get inside and score.

Virginia has to get another strong shooting performance from Isaac McKneely. The Cavaliers will win or lose this game on the perimeter, and McKneely’s shooting kept them tight with State in the ACC semifinals. He’s by far the best 3-point shooter the Wahoos have, and he’s where the offense has to come from.

The Pick 

Normally, Virginia would be a clear pick in a rock fight like this one suggests it will be. But Colorado State’s played better basketball this season. It has the stronger interior game. Most importantly, it understands how to put the ball in the basket.

There’s one more thing to consider here: the Rams are much better at free throws than Virginia. The Cavaliers lost to State because they missed four free throws out of five over the final 70 seconds of regulation. Virginia’s far and away the worst team in the tournament at making foul shots, and it has struggled all year from the stripe.

This game is likely to be tight. In a tight, defense-first battle, always go with the team who actually makes its free throws. 

Dan’s Picks 

 Colorado State -2  

 Under 119.5