2013 March Madness: #8 Colorado State vs #9 Missouri

Alex Oriakhi, Tony CriswellMany of the most entertaining first-round games in the NCAA Tournament have been when the #8 seed faces the #9 seed.

#8 Colorado State (25-8) vs. #9 Missouri (23-10) will be a good one.

Both teams were locks to make the tourney after having winning records in their respective conferences.

This game will be debated back and forth, but I explain why this game won’t be as close as many believe.

Who do you think will win? We help you fill out your bracket.

The Colorado State Rams come out of the best mid-major conference in the nation. The Mountain West has more teams in the tournament than the ACC and SEC this year. CSU had the second-best conference record in the regular season, but their record can fool you. They lost twice to New Mexico and UNLV and split with Boise State and San Diego State. The Rams beat up on the lower 2/3rd of the conference, but didn’t beat the top teams.

Colorado State is one of the best rebounding teams in the country (4th in the country). Colton Iverson and Pierce Hornung both nearly average double-digit rebounds per game. CSU does struggle with their perimeter scoring, but they are better at defending it than hitting three-pointers…they will need that skill against Mizzou.

The Missouri Tigers are coming off their first season of SEC conference play. They got beat up a little bit and had a few bad losses on the road in conference play (Arkansas, Texas A&M). On a positive note, for the entire season, Mizzou were undefeated at home and 4-2 on neutral sites.

Earlier I said CSU had elite rebounders…Missouri is even better. The Tigers are second in the country in rebounds per game. Connecticut transfer Alex Oriakhi, who won a National Championship in 2010, is Mizzou’s leading rebounder (8.6 per game). They are a much better rebounding team as a whole. Earnest Ross is one of the best rebounding guards in the country.

These teams are almost carbon copies of each other. The glaring difference is Mizzou’s ability to hit high-percentage shots. They are much better on the offensive side of the ball. You match that wiith their rebounding edge and you have Mizzou moving on to face Louisville in the second-round.

Prediction: #9 Missouri Tigers

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