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Colorado vs Boise State Predictions, Expert Picks & Odds for First Four (March 20)

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in College Basketball

Updated Mar 20, 2024 · 9:05 AM PDT

Colorado Buffaloes guard KJ Simpson celebrates a basket
Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Colorado Buffaloes guard KJ Simpson (2) celebrates after a scoring play against the Utah Utes during the second half at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
  • Colorado meets Boise State in the First Four on Wednesday, March 20th
  • Boise State has never won a March Madness game (0-9) and is 0-2 in the First Four
  • The Buffaloes are 2.5-point favorites in the Colorado vs Boise State odds

The final First Four game of the 2024 NCAA Tournament will feature the Colorado Buffaloes (24-10, 4-2 neutral, 17-17 ATS) versus the Boise State Broncos (22-10, 1-3 neutral, 16-13-1 ATS) at 9:15 pm ET in Dayton, Ohio.

The winner will claim the #10 seed in the South Region and face #7 Texas in the first round of the March Madness bracket on Friday.

The Buffaloes opened as two-point chalk on Sunday night and the Colorado vs Boise State odds are moving in their favor.

Colorado vs Boise State Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Colorado Buffaloes -2.5 (-112) -148 Over 140.5 (-110)
Boise State Broncos +2.5 (-108) +124 Under 140.5 (-110)

Currently, Colorado is a 2.5-point betting favorite and -148 on the moneyline. Boise State is sitting at +124 to win in Wednesday’s college basketball odds with the game total at 140.5.

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Odds as of March 19. See the best available March madness betting promos before wagering on the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

Colorado is listed at +3500 to win the South Region in the Final Four odds, well ahead of Boise State at +7500. See this Fanatics Sportsbook promo code for a $1,000 sign-up bonus for new players.

Boise State Still Searching for First NCAA Tournament Victory

The Boise State program owns the dubious record of most NCAA Tournament losses without a victory (0-9), and that includes first-round losses in each of the last two seasons. Including First-Four losses in 2013 and 2015, head coach Leon Rice is personally 0-4 in March Madness during his 14-year tenure in Boise.

Boise State is an even 7-7 against teams that qualified for the 2024 NCAA Tournament this season. The Broncos’ highest-quality victory came in a true-road game against last season’s national runner-up, San Diego State, in the final game of the regular season: a 79-77 OT victory. But they couldn’t build any momentum off it, losing next time out in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament to eventual-winner New Mexico (76-66).

YouTube video

As a #10 seed last season, Boise lost to #7 Northwestern (75-67) in the first round as 1.5-point underdogs. Northwestern scored the first basket of the game and the Broncos never got closer than three points thereafter.

Junior forward Tyson Degenhart, who has led Boise in scoring each of the last two seasons, had a game to forget, scoring just eight points in the loss to Northwestern. Degenhart was also a freshman on the 2022 team that fell to #9 Memphis (64-53) as a #8 seed.

This was a banner season for the Mountain West, which put six teams into the NCAA Tournament bracket for the first time ever. The Mountain West finished almost level with the Pac-12 in KenPom’s strength-of-conference rankings at +10.39 and +10.94, respectively, which ranked 7th and 6th out of the 32 DI conferences.

Colorado’s Season-Best Eight-Game Win Streak Snapped in Pac-12 Championship

Colorado played its best basketball of the season down the stretch, closing out the regular season on a six-game win streak to improve to 13-7 in Pac-12 play (third-place behind 15-5 Arizona and 14-6 Washington State). The Buffs also won their first two Pac-12 Tournament games – 72-58 over Utah and 58-52 over Wazzu – before falling to Oregon (75-68) in the title game.

YouTube video

Colorado was also .500 against other NCAA Tournament teams (5-5) though that includes a lopsided win over Grambling State (95-63 home).

The Buffaloes are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2021 and only the second time since 2016. This is the school’s first appearance in the First Four. Head coach Tad Boyle is just 2-4 in March Madness during his 13 previous seasons in Boulder.

Narrowly missing out on Pac-12 Player of the Year to Arizona’s Caleb Love, junior guard KJ Simpson (19.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.9 APG) was a unanimous All Pac-12 First Team selection. With 6’11 senior Eddie Lampkin Jr and 6’9 senior Tristan Da Silva patrolling the frontcourt, the Buffs finished 15th in the nation in defensive-rebound percentage.

Though the Broncos don’t have a starter over 6’8, they’re actually one of the few teams that cleaned up its own glass better than Colorado. The Broncos were fifth out of all 362 DI teams in defensive-rebound percentage (76.9%), though no single player averaged more than 6.4 rebounds per game.

Colorado vs Boise State Prediction

I’m a firm believer in the Mountain West this season and have several MW teams advancing in my expert bracket, but I don’t like this matchup for Boise State. KJ Simpson is a future NBA draft pick and connects at a 45% clip from beyond the arc. As a team, the Buffs are fifth in the country in three-point percentage at 39.4%. and 18th in effective field-goal percentage (55.3%). The Broncos don’t shoot nearly as well (34.8 3P% and 51.6 EFG%) and are going to have a difficult time getting any second looks.

Factoring in Degenhart’s poor performance in the NCAA Tournament last year and the still-winless NCAA Tournament resume of Leon Rice, I strongly lean towards Colorado advancing.

COLO vs BSU pick: Colorado moneyline (-148) – two units

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