by Ralph Routon
Colorado's first NCAA game against Nevada-Las Vegas will be the finale of four opening-round games Thursday in Albuquerque, N.M., but you'll need cable TV to see it.
Colorado-UNLV is scheduled to tip off at 7:57 p.m. Mountain time on Thursday, televised by TruTV (Comcast channel 40 for digital, 740 for high-definition). Here's the full schedule Thursday in Albuquerque at The Pit:
Wisconsin (4) vs. Montana (13), 12:10 p.m.
Vanderbilt (5) vs. Harvard (12), 2:40 p.m.
Baylor (3) vs. South Dakota State (14), 5:27 p.m.
Nevada-Las Vegas (6) vs. Colorado (11), 7:57 p.m.
——————ORIGINAL POST, 5:24 P.M. SUNDAY——————
Exactly a year after being snubbed and devastated when the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket came out, this time Colorado couldn't have been happier.
CU, after winning the Pacific 12 Tournament title on Saturday to make the field, rose to a No. 11 seed in the South Regional, after forecasters had assumed the Buffaloes would be more like a 13th seed. Colorado also drew the nearest sub-regional site for next weekend, going to The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., and facing No. 6 seed Nevada-Las Vegas on Thursday.
If the Buffs can make it past UNLV, they would likely face No. 3 seed Baylor, which plays South Dakota State on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Colorado State will go to Louisville, Ky., for a sub-regional with a much tougher assignment, facing Murray State (30-1), which might be the entire tournament's most under-seeded team.
If you're working on an office pool or entering the Independent's contest at marchtothechampionship.com, here are some quick thoughts for your bracket, by region:
Best bet: Kentucky, the overall top seed, should have no trouble advancing far into the tournament.
Best early matchups: UNLV (6) vs. Colorado (11), Notre Dame (7) vs. Xavier (10).
Upset special: Virginia Commonwealth (12) over Wichita State (5).
Team to watch: Colorado is in a good position to make some noise on the first weekend, then perhaps beyond.
My pick: Kentucky (1).
Best bet: Michigan State and Missouri, the top two seeds, could follow form and meet for the regional title. But this looks like the toughest bracket overall, without question.
Best early matchups: Assuming they don't lose their openers, Louisville (4) vs. New Mexico (5), Florida (7) vs. Missouri (2).
Upset special: Don't see one in this regional. But some are saying Memphis (8) could knock off Michigan State next weekend.
Team to watch: Five of the top six seeds here won their conference tournaments. Don't forget the No. 6 seed, Murray State.
My pick: Missouri (2).
Best bet: Chaos. This looks like a regional that could be hard on favorites. Don't count on top-seeded Syracuse making the Final Four.
Best early matchups: Gonzaga (7) vs. West Virginia (10), Vanderbilt (5) vs. Harvard (12).
Upset special: Montana (13) over Wisconsin (4), then on the weekend, Gonzaga (7) over Ohio State (2).
Team to watch: Vanderbilt.
My pick: Florida State (3).
Best bet: More chaos. This quadrant is filled with teams that were disappointments in their conference tournaments.
Best early matchups: California (12) vs. South Florida (12), actually one of the First Four games; St. Mary's (7) vs. Purdue (10).
Upset special: Belmont (14) over Georgetown (3), perhaps Ohio (13) over Michigan (4).
Team to watch: St. Mary's, but it has to face Kansas in its second game.
My pick: Kansas (2).