Michigan vs. Colorado State scouting report for NCAA Tournament 2022

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

James Hawkins of The Detroit News breaks down Michigan’s NCAA Tournament first-round matchup against Colorado State.

NCAA Tournament

No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 6 Colorado State

►Tip-off: 12:15 Thursday, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

►TV/radio: CBS/950

►Records: Michigan 17-14; Colorado State 25-5

►Line: Michigan by 1.5 points

Predictions:Michigan vs. Colorado State

Key matchup

Hunter Dickinson vs. Colorado State’s bigs

Not many teams in the country have a big man who can measure up to sophomore center Hunter Dickinson. Colorado State is on that list. The Rams’ most commonly used starting lineup features nobody taller than 6-foot-8. And of the 10 players that are averaging at least 12 minutes per game, only one comes close to the 7-1 Dickinson — sophomore James Moors, who is 6-10.

Michigan runs its offense through Dickinson and the size disparity means he could be relied upon even more against a Colorado State defense that’s allowing opponents to shoot 50.4% on 2-pointers. Even if the Rams opt to double him, he has the passing skills and vision to make them pay. The intriguing part, though, will be on defense, where Colorado State could test Dickinson’s mobility and ability to defend in space when Michigan isn't in a zone.

However, this won't be the first time Colorado State has faced someone similar to Dickinson in stature. The Rams played against Creighton center Ryan Kalkbrenner (7-1) and Saint Mary's big man Matthias Tass (6-10) this season.

"Hunter Dickinson is a great player," Colorado State coach Niko Medved said. "He's got great hands. He's a great passer. He knows how to carve out space. He's a very, very difficult matchup.

"You try to scout, you try to pick up what can we do to try to help ourselves take away the advantages that Michigan might have. But at the same time, we want to try to take advantage of some of the things that we do well."

More: Michigan opponent Colorado State uses last year's snub as motivation

Colorado State's David Roddy (21) is shooting 57.4% from the field and 45.5% from 3-point range this season.

Rams to watch

David Roddy, F: The Mountain West player of the year does it all for Colorado State as a small ball four or five. He leads the Rams in scoring (19.4 points), rebounding (7.6), blocked shots (33) and made 3-pointers (45). He’s second on the team in assists (85) and steals (35). He’s made more free throws (103) than any of his other teammates have attempted. He’s a Swiss Army knife who can drop 30 points and his best outings this season have come on the road and on neutral courts.

Isaiah Stevens, G: The All-Mountain West second-team selection is the only other Ram averaging double figures in scoring (14.9 points) and can go for 20 points. He’s capable of dishing out double digit assists and ranks No. 16 in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (2.75). He’s a threat to score anywhere on the floor, is nearly automatic at the free-throw line (90.2%) and forms a lethal pairing with Roddy.

Dischon Thomas, F: The junior has spent much of the season in the starting lineup at center and is averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 15.8 minutes. While his offensive production is hit or miss — six games with at least 11 points and seven scoreless outings — the bigger focus will be his contributions on the other end of the floor against Michigan’s frontcourt.

More: UM guard DeVante' Jones to miss March Madness opener, he's in concussion protocol

Facts and figures

►This is the third all-time meeting between the teams and first encounter in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan and Colorado State split a home-and-home series in the early 2000s, with the Wolverines winning in Ann Arbor, 87-80, on Jan. 2, 2000, and losing on the road in overtime, 70-66, on Feb. 11, 2002.

►The No. 6 seed is the highest seeding Colorado State has earned in its 11 trips to March Madness. It surpassed the No. 8 seed the Rams received in 2013, which is the last time they were invited to the Big Dance. The No. 11 seed is tied for the lowest in Michigan’s 31 NCAA Tournament appearances.

►Colorado State’s 25 wins are the third most in program history and its 14 conference wins tied the school record set last season. The Rams are one of four teams from the Mountain West in the field, along with regular season and tournament champion Boise State (No. 8 seed), San Diego State (No. 8 seed) and Wyoming (No. 12 seed).

►Colorado State is 6-3 against teams in the NCAA Tournament, with wins over Creighton, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State, Wyoming and Boise State (twice). Michigan is 7-12, with wins over San Diego State, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Rutgers, Michigan State and Ohio State.

►Per KenPom, Colorado State ranks in the top 25 in the nation in several offensive categories, including adjusted efficiency (114.2 points per 100 possessions; 20th), effective field-goal percentage (55.2%; 19th), turnover percentage (15.2%; 22nd), 2-point shooting (56.3%; 11th) and free-throw shooting (77.4%; 19th).


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins