CSU Rams earn first NCAA Tournament berth since 2013, face Michigan Wolverines as 11 seed

FORT COLLINS — For the first time in almost a decade, CSU’s Rams are putting their NCAA Tournament dancing on shoes again. And dancing with one of the blue bloods of college basketball.

Their first port of call? Indianapolis, as a No. 6 seed on Thursday, against the 11th-seeded Michigan Wolverines.

It’s the first NCAA tourney bid for the Rams (25-5) since March 2013 and the first under fourth-year coach Niko Medved, who inked an amended contract that will keep him in Fort Collins through 2029, the university announced just before the selection show.

CSU’s 6 seed is the best in program history, besting the slot on the 8 line received by the Rams in the ’13 Big Dance. CSU bested No. 9 Missouri in the Round of 64 nine years ago, 84-72, and were eventually eliminated by top-seeded Louisville, 82-56.

As part of the new deal, the 48-year-old Medved is slated to make $1.1 million in base compensation through June 30, 2024, with a jump to $1.15 million in the 2024-25 fiscal year, then $1.2 million in ’25-26, $1.25 million in ’26-27 and $1.3 million, potentially, in ’27-28 and ’27-29, “if the additional years are exercised by either party.”

The total base compensation is $9.5 million from April 1, 2022 through June 30, 2029. Medved, or a future employer, would need to pay 33% of the remaining base pay to buy out the contract

If Medved were let go without cause, CSU would owe 100% of the remaining base salary, subject to being offset “by future employment.”

Thankfully for CSU faithful, Selection Sunday was one that came and went without the heartbreak and disappointment of recent years.

The Rams were listed as one of the “last four out,” as revealed by the NCAA tournament’s selection committee, in both 2015, under then-coach Larry Eustachy, and in 2021 under Medved.

The program had no such drama this March, thanks to an excellent regular season marked by non-conference wins over Saint Mary’s (NCAA NET ranking: No. 19), Creighton (No. 55) and Mississippi State (No. 57) and a conference sweep of Boise State (No. 29).

CSU as of Sunday afternoon ranked No. 28 in the NCAA’s NET formula, which replaced the Ratings Percentage Index as one of the selection committee’s primary evaluation metrics in 2019.

The Rams posted a 5-3 record in so-called “Quadrant 1” games. “Quadrant 1” victories are wins over teams among the NCAA’s NET ranking top 30 when you play them at home, in the top 50 when you play them at a neutral site or in the top 75 when played on the road.

And it ends here.

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